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BS: £800 fine for low school attendance

Lizzie Cornish 1 24 Feb 10 - 10:43 AM
Wesley S 24 Feb 10 - 10:48 AM
Greg F. 24 Feb 10 - 10:53 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 24 Feb 10 - 10:53 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 24 Feb 10 - 10:55 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Feb 10 - 11:36 AM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 12:22 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 12:28 PM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 12:54 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 01:00 PM
Ruth Archer 24 Feb 10 - 01:17 PM
Jack Campin 24 Feb 10 - 01:34 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 01:45 PM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM
Jean(eanjay) 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 02:03 PM
Jean(eanjay) 24 Feb 10 - 02:11 PM
John MacKenzie 24 Feb 10 - 02:22 PM
paula t 24 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 24 Feb 10 - 02:31 PM
Ruth Archer 24 Feb 10 - 02:38 PM
Wesley S 24 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM
Jean(eanjay) 24 Feb 10 - 02:42 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 02:58 PM
jacqui.c 24 Feb 10 - 03:04 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 03:08 PM
VirginiaTam 24 Feb 10 - 03:20 PM
Emma B 24 Feb 10 - 03:24 PM
Ruth Archer 24 Feb 10 - 03:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 10 - 03:31 PM
Sorcha 24 Feb 10 - 04:24 PM
paula t 24 Feb 10 - 04:34 PM
Ruth Archer 24 Feb 10 - 05:12 PM
John MacKenzie 24 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM
paula t 24 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM
Melissa 24 Feb 10 - 05:58 PM
Folkiedave 24 Feb 10 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,999 24 Feb 10 - 10:14 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 10:45 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Feb 10 - 11:54 PM
Ruth Archer 25 Feb 10 - 03:43 AM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 10 - 04:32 AM
Bonzo3legs 25 Feb 10 - 05:06 AM
Smedley 25 Feb 10 - 07:23 AM
jacqui.c 25 Feb 10 - 07:54 AM
Smedley 25 Feb 10 - 07:59 AM
Ruth Archer 25 Feb 10 - 08:09 AM
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Subject: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:43 AM

I dunno, seems weird to me...people being fined for their children being away, being on holiday.

North Devon Mum, fined

Seems to me that a child will learn FAR more on a holiday, than they will in school for a week...but, what do I know? :0)

School Holiday Fines


A great school song...
We don't... - Youtube


A teacher of nearly 30 years, who knows the truth..
John Taylor Gatto - State Controlled Consciousness- Youtube


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Wesley S
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:48 AM

Yeah - Kids should only go to school when they feel up to it. And expecting the parents to notify the school when their kids are gone on vacation it a terrible invasion of privacy.

Alert the media.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Greg F.
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:53 AM

"We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control".....

Let's hear it for ignorance!

I seem to reacll a certain poster bemoning the state of education in the UK - could truancy be part of the reason kids don't learn?

No, can't be.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:53 AM

Did you watch John's video, Wesley?

People were never fined like this when I went to school. The 'State' wasn't so in control and there wasn't this manic belief that if you missed a few days/weeks here and there you'd never recover from it, like there is now.

BS....Before School....?

Children still survived BS, didn't they. They still went into jobs, learned trades, found skills..and humanity still existed, went on to where we now are....

WHY has it now become a sin to take your child away for ONE week?   It's nuts.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:55 AM

No, I think Edukashon is part of the reason kids don't want to go to school, actually.

It's become so stressful. Testing, testing, testing...

"Houston, we have a problem! The kids won't come through the gates!"


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 11:36 AM

As you say, what do you know? As your postings prove.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:22 PM

I'm perplexed that someone who posts (continually) - often in capitals with extra exclamtion marks etc - that parents should take more responsibility for their childrens behaviour now starts another 'crusade' in defence of a parent whose son had only an 80% attendance rate at Bideford College between February 9 and June 26 last year (26 unauthorised absences.) and whose daughter, who was in her final year of compulsory education, only turned out to 83% of lessons during the same period (including 14 days of unauthorised holidays.)

At the risk of being termed a (dreaded) Feminist Fact Finder - again!

What is the actual reality?

The law DOES allow schools to give permission for up to a maximum of ten school days holidays per year (or very exceptionally, even longer).

Even then, schools may still refuse to allow the holiday for other reasons - for example, if the child has a poor attendance record, or if the holiday is at a particularly important time, such as in the run up to exams or at the start of a new school year.

The availability of cheaper holidays in term time with no educational value are not deemed to be good reasons for term time holidays to be allowed.

Parents are notified that if their child goes on holiday in term time without permission from the school -
The absences will be marked in the school register as unauthorized absences and this may result in fixed penalty fines (Education Penalty Notices) of £50 (rising to £100) per parent per child being issued by the Local Authority.
In some cases, parents may also be prosecuted by the offence of failure to ensure regular attendance at school.


"WHY has it now become a sin to take your child away for ONE week?   It's nuts."

It hasn't is the simple answer and, to suggest it has, is either wilful ignorance or just 'nuts'


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:28 PM

If school was worth going to, then you couldn't keep children away.

Schools should spend their time ensuring that they are doing their job and not hounding the customers who are voting with their feet.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:54 PM

What is the origin of the thread, as plainly pointed out in the links provided, is the fact that some parents are taking their children away on holidays during term time - not 'voting with their feet'

The link that was provided to the BBC article, publicising a programme about this very specific problem, included an interview with Ron Collinson, Liverpool's chief attendance officer who stated that

"We see some families taking holidays two or three times a year," including "times that coincide with exams."

The reason given for this behaviour appears to be purely economic

A 'local factor in Liverpool is the battle between low-cost airlines offering deals from the city's John Lennon Airport.

Parents complain that flights and holidays are far more expensive outside term time and this can dwarf the cost of a fine.'

'The PM programme spoke to one mother who was fined for taking her daughter out of school. She asked to remain anonymous.

"The fine frightened the life out of me," she said, "And I haven't taken her away on holiday since. The problem is that now we can't afford to go on holiday during the summer. It's too expensive."

She said she thought it was wrong to penalise poorer families, but did admit that in her case it has had an effect because her daughter's general attitude has improved tremendously.

"In my case it did work," she said.

"Her attendance has shot right up." '


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:00 PM

The point I was trying to make Emma was that if the schools were doing their job properly then the kids themselves would prefer to stay in school rather than go on holiday.

Of course your example of the girl whose attitude 'improved tremendously' show us that parents can also be part of the problem.

BUT, again, if the schools were doing their job properly, then the parents would also see that the children didn't miss a day of of what should be a great and valuable experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:17 PM

Bert, that is quite ridiculous. So parents wouldn't want to take advantage of cheap holidays if schools were "doing their job properly"? Maybe more parents ought to be instilling their children with a sense of what a valuable opportunity it is to have an education, and not standing passively by while they piss it away.

Out of interest, Bert, when's the last time you spent a day in a school, and saw the teachers and staff working their arses off to "do their job properly"? A bit more respect for education and the people who dedicate their lives to providing it is long overdue in this country, IMHO.

As Emma says, schools can allow parents to take a certain number of discretionary days for absence including holiday, and they usually are quite reasonable about it (in my experience). Apparently they are less understanding if the child has a poor attendance record, or is in an exam period, or is really behind in their work. That seems reasonable to me. Holidays should be a reward for effort, and if the child is behind in their work, they should not be allowed to fall further behind (and take up valuable staff time and resources having to catch up still further when they return).


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:34 PM

One of the scarier book titles I've seen recently was "Infertility Treatment for Dummies".


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:45 PM

...Bert, when's the last time you spent a day in a school...

I used to teach, Ruth, but that was here in The States. I know, it is bloody hard work for minimum wage.

I was educated in England and Wales in various different schools. I can remember two good teachers and dozens of useless ones. So I will admit that my opinion is biased and is based on personal experience.

I have not yet found any evidence to change my opinion of schools in general though. Mostly bad with a few exceptions.

Schools should be taking an example from those exceptional teachers, and use that example to train the herd of mediocre ones.

If they did that, then parents would find their children kicking and screaming if they took them on holiday during school time.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM

Well if we are using anecdotes and personal experiences, which seem to be the most popular form of analysis in some arguments, let me add that I had an excellent state education and remember all but one (sadistic) teacher with great affection and respect.

I haven't yet found any evidence, and certainly not on this forum, to change MY opinion of schools in general

However, ask me if I would have preferred 2 weeks of irresonsibility, sun and sand in Spain or hockey on a freezing cold playing field followed by calculus while my parents enjoyed themselves without me and ......... :)


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM

Rather than simply fining the parents, it might be worth discovering the causes of truancy in the child. Bullying? School phobia? Depression? Victimisation by a teacher?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM

if the schools were doing their job properly then the kids themselves would prefer to stay in school rather than go on holiday.

The kids may not get a choice! They can hardly be left at home on their own if they prefer school to a holiday.

It is amazing how many parents ask teachers to set work for a child to take with them on holiday; or expect the teachers to spend extra time with the child when they return to help them catch up.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:03 PM

The kids may not get a choice!

No, but they often have an opinion. I can remember not wanting to stay at home sick because we had biology that day. And parents choices are often based on what they think is best for the children.

It appears that the 'personal experiences' of many parents are allowing them to think that a week or two off from school is not going to impair their children too much. What I am saying is that the schools should be so good that the parents don't want their kids to miss a single day.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:11 PM

What I am saying is that the schools should be so good that the parents don't want their kids to miss a single day.

If parents feel that they cannot afford to go on holiday during the school holiday period then it won't matter how good the school is.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:22 PM

This is excellent news, what we need now to complete the full parental responsibility cycle, is for the parents of criminal kids under the age of criminal responsibility, to be charged with the crimes their feral kids commit.



Now that'll get them all going :)


I'll get into my Anderson Shelter now.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: paula t
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM

Schools are in a "no win" situation. The government discourages parents from taking time off in term time , yet they will not make it official (vote losing). They still say there is some discretion here - but the headteacher has to make the decision. Disallow a request and there are a number of scenarios:
1) The parent "sees reason" and rearranges the planned holiday (Never seen this happen yet).
2) The parent takes the child out anyway and this means the absence is officially noted as unauthorised. The school is slated by OFSTED for an unsatisfactory attendance rate. Pressure to "punish"(fine) parents is put on the headteacher. This is hardly a way to foster good home / school relationships!

If the headteacher allows the request they are slated by OFSTED for allowing poor attendance , because guidelines for schools tell us to discourage (i.e. disallow) holidays in term times.


Answers on a postcard please........


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:26 PM

C.S.

The OP...

"I dunno, seems weird to me...people being fined for their children being away, being on holiday.

Seems to me that a child will learn FAR more on a holiday, than they will in school for a week...but, what do I know? :0) "

...is about parents who, for the sake of cheap holiday offers take their children away without previously requesting permission and irrespective of the imminence of exams etc and the assertion that a week on a beach somewhere can teach more than formal education.

Truancy and school phobia (and the reasons) are a real problem however - maybe another dedicated thread?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:31 PM

"If school was worth going to, then you couldn't keep children away."

And....a new hero was born! :0)


That is IT in a total nutshell, Bert.

What worries me is as a species we have now seemingly become paranoid about Edukashon. We strive to test, be tested, are forced to be tested, all our lives long.

Why?

Two reasons.

The first is that they Edukashon System is now worth billions of pounds/dollars.

The second is that we have a group of people who believe there is only ONE way to learn, and that is in school, and once you are in there, you must learn what they tell you...and...you must learn it in the way they tell you to.

It is driving kids bonkers.

The amount of work they now have to do for GCSEs and A Levels is huge, vast, ridiculous.....Work, work work, all the time. Homework throughout the holidays and at weekends, and after school. Criticism fear of not passing, fear of ridicule from teachers and peers alike, fear of being 'in the bottom class'......etc..etc..etc..

Now don't get me wrong, for SOME children school pushes all their buttons. They love to achieve, to win, to get the best marks. It's in their nature, and they absolutely thrive on that. For others, they simply love to learn.

Edukashon and Learning are very different things to me. One is regimented and controlled by those with agendas, tick boards and league tables. The other is what we are all born with, a natural instinct. It's the one that makes us go from crawling to walking, from silence to speech, from wanting to find out about this world we live in, be it nature, science, math, books, writing, art, history, music...

The paths that light our brains will lead us to what we love best, eventually...but school so often turns the lights off for years, whilst many children are forced into Edukashon!

A child truly can learn far more on a holiday than they can during a week at school. And if parents are asking the teachers for work, it's because they are riddled with guilt about taking their children out. It's total madness.

My children were often away from school. Birthdays were always spent on tops of buses, with picnics packed, going to exciting places, not a care in the world about school. Those days are remembered now...they were special days. As the stress built for my daughter, she was at home more and more, until eventually, she never went back, and then she started to blossom, after a while, when the damage subsided a bit.

Just the other day I was talking to my friend. Her two children are taking A levels and GCSEs each...and they are so stressed they can barely think straight. Her daughter is at College doing Art A Level, and the work load is practically impossible. They've complained to the college and they have acknowledged that the course in question has been causing major stress for years, but despite those in charge being told, nothing gets done, and so the teachers, and pupils alike struggle on.

It has put enormous pressure on her marriage and on her relationship with her children. She's very conscientious, so she does her best, but it's wearing her out...That should NOT be happening. It never used to be that way.   

My generation kinda bummed around a bit, relaxed about school, then swotted up for about 2 weeks before our exams. We didn't have the workload, nor the stress.

"Out of interest, Bert, when's the last time you spent a day in a school, and saw the teachers and staff working their arses off to "do their job properly"? A bit more respect for education and the people who dedicate their lives to providing it is long overdue in this country, IMHO."

Not directed to me, I realise, but....

The last time I was in school was a few months back, with another of my friends. She was seeing the teachers about her young son (12) who had been diagnosed with dyslexia. The teachers didn't even have her letter, couldn't find the report (she had a copy) and didn't even seem to know who her son was. They didn't believe he had dyslexia, saying that most kids in the school were pretty much like he was...(Sidmouth College, btw)....I sat there, quietly, not saying much, as she wanted me there for support, not to rant...but I realisd how nothing had changed since I took my own daughter out of that place, 7 years earlier.   They didn't want to know, basically. They made the right noises, eventually, but months later, nothing has changed, and some of his form teachers STILL do not understand that he has dyslexia. Ho hum....

As I have *always* said, I have the *utmost* respect for great teachers, but for me, they are very much in the minority, but if you are lucky enough to have one in your life, then they illuminate this world, make you believe in yourself and give you something special to cling to, for the rest of your days, which is self belief.


I feel that this control of parents, this almost Compulsory Schooling has become like something out of Russia, where parents are being taken to court and criminalised if they do not comply with the State's wishes..and it is deeply worrying.

Listen to what John Taylor Gatto says in the link to his video on 'State Controlled Consciousness', the man is a teacher of 3 decades, a hugely respected man, and winner of prizes for his teaching...


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:38 PM

"I used to teach, Ruth, but that was here in The States. I know, it is bloody hard work for minimum wage."

Well, my most recent day in a secondary school in Britain was today. I work part-time in schools. I meet great teachers every day. In my opinion, the biggest problem in UK schools today is that kids are not taught by their parents to respect the learning environment or their teachers. It's incredible the freedom and the choices that kids have in schools these days compared to when I was at school 25 years ago - they don't know they're born.



"If they did that, then parents would find their children kicking and screaming if they took them on holiday during school time."

Rubbish. I love my job, but if someone wanted to take me somewhere exciting tomorrow, I'd be off. Why would school be any different?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Wesley S
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM

"I feel that this control of parents, this almost Compulsory Schooling has become like something out of Russia, where parents are being taken to court and criminalised if they do not comply with the State's wishes..and it is deeply worrying."

I think that's called the rule of law. If you don't like it - change the law. Or perhaps run for the school board - or whatever it's called in England.

This is also a form of education for kids. They get to learn that there are laws that need to be obeyed. And if you DON'T like the law then there are ways to change them. And if you aren't willing to do that then you'll just be looked at as a whiner.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:42 PM

And if parents are asking the teachers for work, it's because they are riddled with guilt about taking their children out.

It's because for a lot of them there will be absolutely nothing educational about the holiday at all. They also expect the teachers to mark this work when the child returns to school!

I do agree with you about the testing though. Teaching to an exam cannot be the best way to educate.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM

I don't know what it was like elsewhere but in Salford in the 50s and 60s they did not have this type of fine either - They had the truancy officer instead. Woe betide any kid caught by him outside school during school time. We were dragged back in by our ear's more often than not. Even if he did not catch you he would be round at your parents house, usualy the day of the truancy, and then it was even worse - because your parents found out!

It is certainly different now. Thank heavens

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:58 PM

'this almost Compulsory Schooling has become like something out of Russia?'

I guess your attitude to 'Edukashon' or learning didn't seem to equip you with much actual understanding.

1870 Elementary Education Act (The Forster Act) introduced COMPULSORY universal education for children aged 5-13 but left enforcement of attendance to school boards.

1880 Education Act (The Mundella Act) tightened up school attendance laws.

1891 Education Act elementary education to be provided free.

1917 Lewis Report proposed school leaving age of 14 with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320 hours a year at day continuation classes up to age 18.
1918 Education Act (The Fisher Act) implemented recommendations of 1917 Lewis Report. Wide-ranging act extending education provision. School leaving age to be raised to 14 and all young workers to be given right of access to day release education (not immediately implemented - the leaving age was eventually raised by the 1921 Act).
ETC....

As Wesley said
'I think that's called the rule of law. If you don't like it - change the law.
Or perhaps run for the school board - or whatever it's called in England.'


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: jacqui.c
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:04 PM

My daughter and her family are coming to the USA for three months, starting in June. As a result my, by then almost ten year old, grandson will be out of school for probably about a month.

When the family decided to do this they started discussions with the school to check that Lewis would be allowed such a long period off school and whether it might have a deleterious effect on his education.

I this case the school have quite happily allowed him the time out as they say that the educational value of such a trip far outweighs any schooling he will miss. He is on the top table for all his lessons and they feel that he is bright enough to pick up anything that he might miss. He's got two more school years before going to senior school and his teachers feel that now is just the right time for such a trip.

For responsible parents, who plan such time off with teachers, I don't think that there is a problem. For those who put their selfish want for a cheap trip abroad before their children's educative needs, maybe there is a need for a swift kick in the rear to remind them of their responsibilities. I have no sympathy for those who 'can't afford' to take their kids away during the summer holidays - what they are saying is that they can't afford the holiday they WANT. I think that, if you have children then maybe your own wants should go somewhere to the back of the queue - the kids 'sure as hell didn't ask to be here'.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in the summer, if you are so inclined. I was a single parent of two children - we could rarely get away for a holiday, but were able to take day trips and find stuff locally to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:08 PM

...It's incredible the freedom and the choices that kids have in schools these days...

It is not freedom and choices they need, it is inspiration and excitement about the subjects. What good is it to be able to choose from a dozen mediocre classes.

I have a different point of view about exams though. I loved them. They were the only challenge we got in a whole year of boredom.

It is the whole year of boredom that we need to fix.

Not once during my whole education did we get field trips to museums or art galleries. What the @#^%@ do teachers think that those places are for?

We used to bug our parents for trips to London and we'd visit as many museums as we could. Though often we'd get stuck in the first one and not want to leave. That is really education, not sitting behind a desk bored out of your gawk because some teacher thinks that reading from a book is a substitute for preparing an exciting lesson.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:20 PM

Kids missing school is an issue in Essex due to the proximity of Stansted Airport and cheap flights offered during term time.

I think the councils ought to fine the airlines and holiday companies for offering the cheapo holidays outside or school holidays.

Ideally, I believe that school should be year round giving parents the choice of when they want to book holidays. Then the airlines, hotels etc. couldn't drive the prices so ludicrously high when the kids are off school. Also holiday hotspots won't be so overcrowded and it would ease the traffic on motorways during those summer months and half term holiday times.

While I am dreaming, can I plug for teachers coming up with some learning assignments related to the place being visited on holiday?

Damn I am good! Why ain't I in charge!


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Emma B
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:24 PM

Heaven's Bert when were you at school?

We got lots of field trips - a financial burden to my parents who were very hard pressed to afford them and I had to miss out on some I would have loved.

I can't say I 'loved' exams however although there was a recognition, both by myself and my parents, that sucessful completion was a requirement for wider choices and opportunities in employment.

I think I was lucky that we also had non examination lessons in logic, art appreciation, debating, etc where learning was for learnings sake


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:26 PM

"They made the right noises, eventually, but months later, nothing has changed, and some of his form teachers STILL do not understand that he has dyslexia. Ho hum...."


Well, as someone who was yesterday teaching in a secondary school's specialist SEN unit for part of the day, and giving one-to-one classroom support to another SEN student for part of the day, my perspective is rather different. The provision for kids with SENS in schools, in my experience, is amazing these days. And before anyone starts going on about "privileged" schools, this was inner-city Nottingham.

Perhaps the way to ensure that children with SENs in schools (not to mention their teachers) have the support they need is for all the gainsayers to do some training and go into schools as Learning Support Assistants - god knows the schools are crying out for them. It's certainly more productive than constantly criticising schools, who are doing their best, the system, which exists only to ensure that all of society is educated to a certain minimum standard, and worst of all teachers, who do a bloody hard and thankless job and only deserve our gratitude.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:31 PM

Hey VT! I think the councils ought to fine the airlines and holiday companies for offering the cheapo holidays outside or school holidays.


What about us poor buggers who have got shut of the kids? We want our cheapo hols! I think they should just make sure cheap holidays don't include kids prices as well - Keep the little dears away...

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:24 PM

Another day, another Rant Thread. Will NONE of you learn?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: paula t
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:34 PM

Hi Bert,
No field trips?
My daughters are aged 18 and 15. So far they have been on numerous day field trips . They have also been on numerous residential trips with school. Here are just a few:

Primary school:
2 day residential trip each to a local field centre in year 3.
A residential trip (week) every year from years 4, 5 and 6. (One city based, one countryside based, one seaside based).
A 2 day residential each for music.
1 week exchange each ,to a primary school in the the South of France ,in year 6.

secondary school :

A week camping in year 7. (the whole year went each time).
1 week abroad each, every year ,as part of "alternative curriculum week."
14 days each in Germany as part of an exchange programme.
Sarah has also been on 2 residentials for Geography, went to Venice for 5 days last year on an art trip and is soon going to Barcelona on another art trip.

Their school also offers world challenge type trips for older pupils. Sarah had the opportunity to go to India. She would have done some work in an orphanage and then gone trekking in the Himalayas. The pupils are expected to do some fundraising for the trips in this scheme. Unfortunately she had a leg injury and it was decided that it would be dangerous for her to trek, so she missed out that time. She had saved a lot of money and taken part in lots of school fundraisers. (The "saved-up" money has helped her since though, so she isn't complaining!)

I can't believe that schools are still accused of not trying to inspire their pupils with trips etc!Obviously some have understandably been put off running trips because of the compensation / complaint culture.(Many parents unfortunately seem to believe that teachers are "going on holiday" on such trips and treat them with contempt because they are "having time off").Fortunately, many teachers still believe that trips inspire their pupils and are therefore still prepared to run them, even though they take the risk that parents will complain (often officially or, more often nowadays,in the media)if anything- no matter how minor- happens to displease them or their child.

I have been on many residential and day trips during my career. I have returned from each of them absolutely exhausted and often stressed - but feeling that every single one of them was worthwhile.These trips are what the children will remember .


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:12 PM

Paula: agreed, especially with all the residential and day trips throughout primary school. Some of my daughter's friends are doing World Challenge, but she has chosen to do the exchange trip to Japan instead (was supposed to be last year but sadly got cancelled because of swine flu). Like your daughter, she has to raise part of the money herself. There are also school art trips to Venice and Barcelona.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM

We had NO school trips.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: paula t
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM

Hi Ruth,
Wow! Japan sounds great!(It beats my own school trip to Symmonds Yat in 1976!).I would imagine your daughter is extremely excited!I think it is a good idea for the pupils to have to raise some of the funds. It helps them to understand the value of money and also appreciate the trip more.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Melissa
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:58 PM

If I was an employer, I doubt I'd be in much hurry to hire young employees who have already demonstrated inconsistent attendance. How do the students who miss lots of school manage to get hired anywhere?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:57 PM

Another day, another Rant Thread. Will NONE of you learn?

I tend to agree with what you say. But this is the side of Mudcat where it acts as "Care in the Community".

And good for Mudcat I say. Such a service is clearly needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:14 PM

I appreciate the thought behind the fines, BUT, they don't work. Also, I would like to see that decision to fine a parent upheld on appeal. Nothing stupider than an empty threat.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:45 PM

...Heaven's Bert when were you at school?...

Long time ago Emma, Don't tell everyone. There was a war on when I first started. We used to have to hide under our desks during the air raids.

I left school in 1954.

Ruth, there should be more teachers like you. The thing that surprises me is that the good teachers aren't even more critical of the bad ones than we are. After all, they are the ones that give the whole profession a bad name.

And I wouldn't say teaching is a thankless job. Hard work, yes, low pay, yes. But my students loved me and many of them took the trouble to thank me. It was a very rewarding job, I just couldn't afford to keep doing it. Had to get a real job eventually.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 11:54 PM

I was a Senior Teacher [Head of Upper School in a Cambridge Comprehensive] until I took early retirement on health grounds in 1985. In my time it was a STATUTORY ENTITLEMENT for parents to take children out of school for a fortnight a year, with proper notice being given, to coincide with the parents' holiday ~ which was, naturally and reasonably, often taken to avoid the higher charges levied by airlines & holiday co's in the official school holidays.

This system always worked perfectly well. The school would have no discretion in granting this leave; the register would be marked with an H & the local authority &c took this into account when checking attendance records. Most children worked hard to catch up on work missed &c, & so far as I recall no unreasonable advantage was taken & no objections were raised on any side.

When did this rule change? And why? And would it not be worth reviving?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 03:43 AM

"Ruth, there should be more teachers like you."

Bert, there are many, many teachers that have dedicated their lives to teaching. It's a vocation for many of them. I just do supply (substitute) teaching and TA work alongside my other job. I take work in SEN units when I can because it's really rewarding and enjoyable. But working in schools has given me a really useful perspective. Mind you, because I work in some pretty rough schools with some fairly low-ability groups, you generally see more of the negative side of the education system. You find that you are working with the same challenging classes and groups of kids in the same schools over and over again, because it's their teachers who have the highest incidence of stress-related absence.

"The thing that surprises me is that the good teachers aren't even more critical of the bad ones than we are. After all, they are the ones that give the whole profession a bad name."

Well, I go into classes as a TA in addition to taking classes on my own, so I see a range of teaching. Usually it's the "bad" teachers who require the most additional support. But how are we defining "bad"? A teacher who doesn't care? (I don't think I've met a single one of those.) Who "can't teach"? (Often that's as much about the environment adn the support they are receiving as it is about their ability.) Who is too authoritarian? Who has lost control of the class? Let me try and explain something pretty fundamental which I think differentiates the time when you were teaching from the present day. At one time, society was constructed in such a way that certain professions incurred an innate respect: doctors, vicars and priests, teachers, etc. Nowadays, respect has to be "earned". So a kid walks into a classroom and, depending on how they've been brought up, what they've been taught at home, what their peers say, what they've seen on telly and in films, they don't necessarily see a teacher as someone who deserves respect; the teacher has to prove themselves. They have to assert their authority pretty early on, or the class will run riot. It can be exhausting and demoralising, especially for a young and inexperienced teacher. And with some of the more challenging groups of kids, if they see a chink in the armour, they are likely to go for the jugular. I was teaching a class yesterday morning who are notorious within that particular school. The TA said to me: "This is the group that made Mrs X go off sick." Apparently they had bullied her so badly about her physical appearance, and had so thoroughly disrupted her teaching, that she had been signed off with stress for the past 3 months. Now, within that group you are only talking about maybe half a dozen kids who are causing the problem. But as a result of their complete pack mentality, the rest of the class, and the rest of the classes that this particular teacher would normally have, have had supply teachers for the past 3 months.

Keep in mind that the schools I work in really are the sharp end. And the classes I often end up with are the sharp end of the sharp end, as it were. Some schools are much better at dealing with the discipline problems than others. Even in the rough schools there are plenty of good, motivated classes who do great work. Good leadership at the top is key. One of the schools that I work in is in special measures, and has one of the highest proportions of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children of any school in the country. But it is also a model of good practice as recognised by the department of education in terms of keeping those kids in school, through maintaining contact with their communities, celebrating their cultural traditions and developing strong networks. The school's results are improving. And it is a really nice school to be in, with interesting kids and welcoming staff. Not all schools are so well-led, nor so supportive of their staff.

My heart goes out to the teachers who are having to deal with the minority of kids who can be anything from disruptive to frightening. All this bunkum we hear on various threads about our poor little darlings who are so tired and stressed because they're being tested to death...in my experience, they're much more likely to be knackered because they've been running rings around some poor, beleaguered teacher all day.


"And I wouldn't say teaching is a thankless job."

Teachers nowadays get blamed for an awful lot, with very little acknowledgement of the great work they do, which is often in challenging environments with limited resources. Some would even have the audacity to suggest that they do their job because it's an easy ride, and because of the holidays. I think a bit more general acknowledgement of the work they are doing and of the service they render to society would be not only welcomed, but long overdue.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 04:32 AM

I know there are people on this thread who have theories about teaching and believe themselves to be qualified to teach children.

It may be that the same people need a job. Well here is one - fits in well with child care for single mothers, and there are lots of vacancies. All over the country. Go on, give it a try whoever you are - you know it makes sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 05:06 AM

As my father was headmaster of a junior school, and my mother was a school secretary, there was never any question of holidays during term time when I was at school. I suspect that this woman was stretching the rules a little!

I can fully understand the financial justification for parents taking cheaper holidays available during term time. The fault lies, I'd wager, with the hideous no frills airlines - do I hear a Tom Baker soundalike at Alicante Airport - Easyjet flight EZ1042 to Birmingham.............


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Smedley
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 07:23 AM

Referring back to MtheGM's post a few contributions above, when I was in my teens (the 1970s) my parents took me out of school for a week's holiday on a couple of occasions. It was near the end of the summer term, when exams were over, and as M says it was a right they chose to exercise which was discussed with my teachers in advance. I would also like to know at what point this 'ruling' disapopearing and why.


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: jacqui.c
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 07:54 AM

What gets me is the expectation that a holiday abroad is a right that must be allowed, even if the child's schooling suffers as a result. Where did that come from? Why should that take priority over anything else? Do not these parents understand that, having chosen to have children, there may be some sacrifices that need to be made while the children are growing up?


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Smedley
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 07:59 AM

The 'abroad' thing isn't the issue, as parents could take kids out of school to holiday in Cornwall, or the Norfolk Broads or wherever.

I fear there is a class dimension at work here, as most of the parents who'd need to go for budget flights are very often on relatively low incomes. Better-off families don't have to worry, and fee-paying schools have longer breaks between terms anyway, in most cases.

And (HEADLINE NEWS!!!!!!!!!) just this once I agree with Lizzie C - a child's entire schooling isn't going to crash & burn if they miss one or two weeks.

(oops - 'crash & burn' maybe not the best metaphor if we're talking about air travel)


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Subject: RE: BS: £800 fine for low school attendance
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:09 AM

But Smedley: as has been explained, parents CAN request to take their kids out of school for holidays. There are a number of discretionary days that the school can approve. The problems occur when the school is given no advance warning, if the student is already lagging behind in their work, or if it's during an important exam period.

We regularly took our daughter out of school because my ex-husband's job meant that we often had to travel during term-time. The schools never had a problem with this, and did indeed regard travel as a valuable learning experience.


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