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Parents facing court for child's termtime educational trip.


Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)
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After reading this, I can only say that the council appear to be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Their stance seems to be completely disproportionate. I'd say that the trip Hazel's parents took her on, sounds like an amazing educational experience.

 

Why can't a little common sense be applied in situations such as this?

 

To my mind, a three week excursion like this should be no reason to be penalised, if the nine year old child otherwise regularly attends school.

 

Much more of an issue, is regular absenteeism, and parents not being punctual in getting their child to school. This can often cause a lot more disruption to a students education, than a one off block.

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The rules changed in September 2013 and Head Teachers are banned from authorising term time absence unless an exceptional circumstance is tendered and agreed to. Obviously the reason here is that it was highly convenient for the parent to go backpacking when she did as she had a gap between jobs. Not really an exceptional circumstance and it seems she fully expected to get stung with a fixed penalty (for both parents) when she got back. She obviously never got an absence authorised so it's pretty irrelevant about what may have been in the email to the school about travel plans. It may well have been a great travel plan and very educational (the trip sounds like it was) but it was never authorised.

 

It sounds unfortunate that the contact with the local authority never really ended up highlighting what the consequences of an unauthorised absence would be. They include ~ Parenting Order, Education Supervision Order, School Attendance Order, Prosecution (fine up to £2,500 potentially and up to 3 months inside) and the extremely popular Penalty Notice. I think people perceive you will only end up in Court if you don't pay a Penalty Notice. 

 

I suppose it doesn't help when you can read of a Much Birch couple in the Worcester News who got a penalty for a 2 week skiing trip in term time. You think you'll get the same.

 

This was a 3 week trip tho and it may have tipped it over the edge. I don't know if there is any precedent locally of any child being taken out of school for that length of time previously (after Sept. 2013) or indeed if anyone has got a Penalty Notice for doing so.

 

The GOV.UK website does make it clear tho (highlighted with a big exclamation mark) that The Council can take you straight to Court without any Penalty Notice being issued.

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I'm not sure if any precedent was set, but within the last year there was a couple who took their children on the trip of a lifetime all around South America, Chile, Bolivia etc.

 

It was covered in The Hereford Times, and I remember commenting on the story, saying what an incredible thing to be able to experience as a family.

 

The memories made on that trip will last a lifetime.

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I'm not sure if any precedent was set, but within the last year there was a couple who took their children on the trip of a lifetime all around South America, Chile, Bolivia etc.

 

Excellent point. Bromyard couple. I assume they did what they needed to do with the paperwork (de-registering from a school or home tuition or whatever) as they say they work in education. This is what they said:

 

"We decided to do the trip because we work in education and have become seriously disillusioned with the regimented format of the system with total emphasis on grades. We wanted our children to have a far more rounded educational experience, meeting people in different environments and seeing the varied cultures."

 

 

Hereford Times

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According to the link at the top of this thread, this family had had a discussion about de-registering their child, and were advised by the council not to do that. It would seem to me that they followed this advice, thinking it was the best option.

 

Well done on finding the original story, Roger...... you're a much better cyber sleuth than me!

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Bosnian Graveyard knowledge is not going to feature very highly on any SAT test that a 9 year old may encounter at their next test. I think you may have to impart that experience to your child in your own out of term time if you are inclined that way. That's the current system. 

 

There are two sides to a story (We've only seen the petition) and The Council may have certain facts at their disposal that caused them to instigate the Court Case. 

 

That said ~ A few of these cases have appeared in Court with this new legislation and the ones I've seen all seemed to end up with very decent parents getting a massive fine for basically trying to 'bend' the system. Very little, or in fact nothing, to do with their parenting skills. 

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Slightly off topic but has anyone noticed the number of teaching related posts currently being advertised on the Herefordshire Council website!

Either people are leaving education in droves or there really is a population boom filtering through the education system.

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Slightly off topic but has anyone noticed the number of teaching related posts currently being advertised on the Herefordshire Council website!

Either people are leaving education in droves or there really is a population boom filtering through the education system.

No I hadn't GK but I bet freedom church have????……

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