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Source: (consider it) Thread: Taking Kids Out-Of-School
Garden Hermit
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Is it ever acceptable to take a Child out of School for any reason ? And by so doing cause them to miss some Education and cause disruption to the School ? Family Holidays to visit dying relatives, Funerals, Arranged Marriages, or just to get a very much Cheaper Holiday ?
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mr cheesy
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My child's (state) school took a class of kids to a Disney attraction during term time as a "treat". Which makes rather a nonsense of the idea that it is illegal when a parent does it.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
Is it ever acceptable to take a Child out of School for any reason?

Illness is the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, most schools encourage taking your sick kids out of school.

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justlooking
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It used to be legal in the UK to take a child out of school for up to 10 days a year for family holidays. I regularly missed 2 weeks in September because I was on holiday. Any more than 10 days needed permission. Education involves far more than what is taught in schools. Children who miss school through illness don't necessarily fall behind with learning.
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Boogie

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The previous rule was best imo. Headteacher had the discretion to allow two weeks off during term time.

That way parents who made sure their children had a good attendance record and whose children wouldn't suffer benefited.

Now it's out of headteachers hands and it's too blunt an instrument.

But it really would have been a nightmare for schools, teachers and children if this ruling were overturned as it would be seen as permission to take children out of school any time.

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mr cheesy
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I suspect the truth is that several weeks could be lost at the end of the Summer term, at least a week could be lost before Christmas, and probably some time in September and at Easter with no noticeable effect on the education of anyone.

Private schools often have shorter terms, I've never heard anyone suggest that the education is deformed simply because the kids are in the classroom for less weeks a year.

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Prester John
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In the US, or at least in the school districts I attended taking a religious holiday was considered an excused absence - such as Lunar New Year. Oddly enough I had a friend be given an unexcused absence when she took the day off to take her citizenship exam. Both seem reasonable reasons to keep a child out of school to me.
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Sioni Sais
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This "rule" is just another example of bone-headed target setting. Friends of ours couldn't even get the headteacher's permission for a family holiday so that their father could accompany their children, and he's in the Royal Navy and gets no choice in when he gets his leave. Even a letter from the captain could swing it. It is no surprise that they attend a different school.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
Is it ever acceptable to take a Child out of School for any reason ? And by so doing cause them to miss some Education and cause disruption to the School ? Family Holidays to visit dying relatives, Funerals, Arranged Marriages, or just to get a very much Cheaper Holiday ?

The school is there to serve the family, and not vice versa.

A day or two for a funeral, wedding, or whatever is a non-issue: children get sick from time to time, and should be kept home then; this is no more disruptive to anyone.

Taking children out of school for an extended period is more of an issue, but shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I tend to look at it this way: If your child is present in school, the school has the primary responsibility for ensuring that he or she learns whatever is on the syllabus. If you remove your child from school for a period (for a cheap holiday, because Dad's in the Navy and is off on the high seas during the school holidays, or whatever else) then it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your children study the portion of the syllabus that they will miss, so that they don't cause undue disruption to the class when they return.

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Lamb Chopped
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Of course families should be able to take children out of school, and I would add "at their own discretion" too. The exception would be when things get to the point that abuse/neglect comes into play--for example, when a teacher learns that the kid is being forced to work or to babysit other kids for the good of the rest of family, and his/her own needs are ignored.

Yes, it sucks when a kid is gone for a week or two (or even a month, as some of ours are when they travel to Vietnam to see grandparents). And the family should do what they can to minimize the impact on the school. But just blanket saying "no, you can't go"--whose kid is it? Was the child made for education, or education for the child?

If grandma is dying in Vietnam (or California, or wherever), I am bloody going to take my kid out of school for as long as necessary to let them have a last meeting together. Such opportunities aren't repeatable or postponable. If the illness turns out not to be fatal after all, so much the better (though more embarrassing to explain).

Similarly, if my kid has the opportunity to travel to Antarctica but only during school season (when it's possible), I guess he'll be getting his education in Antarctica. We'll take the books with us. But I'm not going to impoverish his childhood because it makes too much paperwork for the school. If it means taking unexcused absences or having to cope with the truant officer calling, I'll suck it up and deal.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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The freedom to take children from school for virtually any reason exists here, with the understanding that missing too much for any reason may result in being set behind enough that not passing the term (if semestered) or year could occur.

There are only provincial schools run by local school boards (there are so few private schools that these don't really matter). They are required to provide education, such that they must facilitate education if in hospital, and must cooperate to provide material for education if children are on a trip somewhere. Though with both, there is still the chance that failure of the term could occur (or of individual classes).

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Enoch
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I agree with what Lamb Chopped, Learned Cniht, Sioni Sais, Mr Cheesy and others have said. Children do not go to school for the benefit or convenience of teachers, the LEA, the Department of Education or the state. With very, very few exceptions, parents care a great deal more for their children and their welfare than anybody else. They can and should be trusted to decide what they think is best, not have this usurped by bureaucrats or the bureaucratic urge to control, interfere or assume they know best.

Those who think they know best even when they are convinced that they are right, should be obliged to accept that even where they disagree with a parent's interpretation of this, they must defer to the parent.

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leo
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If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

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L'organist
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posted by mr cheesy
quote:
Private schools often have shorter terms, I've never heard anyone suggest that the education is deformed simply because the kids are in the classroom for less weeks a year.
Yes, public and private schools may have shorter terms but that is because they have much longer days. My sons' prep school had lessons for 27 hours a week, the state primary they had been at had lessons for 21; at secondary level state schools around here get 22 hours of teaching per week, non-boarding private average 30. If you take out the PE/ Sport lesson periods then the time difference isn't quite so marked but even so it adds up to a huge amount of extra 'contact time'. In effect, it means that private primary pupils get an extra 6 weeks of teaching time per year, secondary pupils 9 weeks. And that is being generous, because in state schools you lose 5 teaching days (in other words, a whole week) for INSET, where in the private sector professional development and training takes place at half-term or when pupils are on holiday.

As for your idea of pupils getting one-to-one to help catch up if they are absent Leo, dream on: one of the sons' friends spent 4 weeks in hospital and the school did sweet FA to help him catch-up when he returned.

The other thing is the wild variation in what is allowed: we have one local primary school which caused a furore by refusing a child permission to have 2 days to get to a family funeral in Ireland, while the older siblings' secondary gave the time without comment.

The sad thing about this case is that it seems to show that a child being present in school is the vital thing: no one questions whether or not that time is being put to good use.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

Oh please.

As L'Organist pointed out, the chance of a teacher actually doing this is ... well, in my experience, remote. What actually happens is, they tell you it's your own damned fault, and suggest you pay for a tutor. Which they are not obligated to help you find.

And since when did teachers spend loads of one-on-one time with elementary/high school kids anyway? We live in a very good school district, but in-class time is almost always used for whole-class or small-group work, with very little one-on-one time to be stolen or otherwise taken from anybody else. Students are allowed to ask for extra help (brief) before school starts in the morning, or maybe (underline maybe) during a study session (if one exists at all). Otherwise, it's back to "get yourself a tutor."

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

I must have taken five days of such holiday for about as many years and I don't recall anything like that. Maybe it is necessary now, but only to attain another damnfool target, namely SAT scores. And they were only dreamt up by politicians as a stick to beat teachers with.

Just let teachers get on and teach children without bureaucratising the profession: too many qood, qualified and experienced people are getting out as things are.

[ 06. April 2017, 22:01: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

This is nonsense, in so many different ways.
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cliffdweller
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Well, I'm a bad parent. I used to intentionally, deliberately take my kids out of school once a year-- just once-- to go to Disneyland (until they raised admission to more than the month's rent, that is...) I would tell them they were going to school, then suddenly turn onto the freeway and away we'd go. They fell for it every time. And it was wonderful-- and the lines/heat were half what they'd be on a weekend or in summer. I told them it was their birthright as Californians.

I know, I'm a terrible parent. Worse, I'm completely unrepentant. It is one of my kids' most cherished memories.

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L'organist
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posted by Sioni Sais
quote:
I must have taken five days of such holiday for about as many years and I don't recall anything like that. Maybe it is necessary now, but only to attain another damnfool target, namely SAT scores. And they were only dreamt up by politicians as a stick to beat teachers with. Just let teachers get on and teach children without bureaucratising the profession: too many qood, qualified and experienced people are getting out as things are.
I agree with you about SAT scores being a damnfool target, and that they were drawn up by politicians, but as a stick with which to beat teachers? No. IMV the intention behind the introduction of SATs was good but no one thought to tackle (a) why they might be necessary, and (b) whether or not there might be a better way - for pupils and schools - of achieving what the aim was said to be.

In the "bad" good old days most primary schools followed each other in one important regard: at Junior level (equivalent to Years 3-6) most Friday mornings were taken up with simple tests: times-tables, mental arithmetic, basic "sums" and problem-solving maths; spelling and comprehension in English. This meant that teachers could see very easily who was taking on board what had been taught that week and who might need extra help. Since it was part of the weekly routine pupils didn't get stressed out by it and any problems could be seen and sorted PDQ.

Similarly, school inspections were much more sensible: HMIs dropped in without warning and so got a snapshot of a school day. True, it might have been an extraordinary day for the school through unexpected event, but broadly the impression gained was accurate, teachers and pupils didn't waste time (and stress) getting ready to give a good, and sometimes pretty false, impression.

There are two broad types of education at primary level in the UK, state and private. One has suffered constant tinkering and micro-management, the other far less; private primaries tend to follow the pattern that was common across the board during the 1950s and 60s but a state primary tends not to do this partly, I suspect, because an OFSTED inspection would frown on it. But which system seems to produce children who can cope with exam stress and who consistently achieve.

The private sector follows the National Curriculum but only sees it as a base-line or jumping-off point and within a broad curriculum teachers are free to teach as they wish. In private schools staff expertise is acknowledged and staff teach 'their' subject across the school, rather than being forced to cover everything from PE to Art and Science - and a bonus is that pupil-teacher clashes are less likely to happen and pupils don't get bored with the same voice teaching them 5 days a week. There are fewer teaching assistants in the private sector but subject specialist staff means that teachers get free periods during the week to do marking, and record-keeping tends to be done by a dedicated administrator.

With my older siblings I went to the local primary school (late 1950s - mid-60s) and got a first-class education: to get the same for our sons we had to go down the private route. Rather than bad-mouthing the private school perhaps the state system might learn from it?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Yes, public and private schools may have shorter terms but that is because they have much longer days. My sons' prep school had lessons for 27 hours a week, the state primary they had been at had lessons for 21; at secondary level state schools around here get 22 hours of teaching per week, non-boarding private average 30. If you take out the PE/ Sport lesson periods then the time difference isn't quite so marked but even so it adds up to a huge amount of extra 'contact time'.

As you say, the "contact time" mostly consists of playing sport every afternoon. I think sport is a good thing, it'd be great if every school could offer various sporting activities to children until 5 o'clock.

But to suggest that this is somehow a reason why they have shorter terms is laughable. There is no sense in which prep school children have more time in the classroom than those in state schools.

A much bigger factor IMO is that parents are motivated to ensure that their children apply themselves to the work (mostly because they're paying).

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Gee D
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When I was at school, all those decades ago, there were 3 categories of schools - the public system, the Catholic systemic system (perhaps similar to the Canadian - very low fees, lots of the teaching done by religious) and the independent schools (much higher fees, some religious taught in the Jesuit schools). I went to one of the latter where we did regular lessons during the period 9 am to 3.30 pm. Then sport practice a couple of afternoons after that, cadets and honours classes other afternoons, and inter-school sport competition on Saturdays. This more than made up for the longer holidays, as in the other systems these "additional" items were in the normal school hours.

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Ricardus
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The thing with cheap holidays is that it's laws like this that make it possible for holiday companies to charge extortionate amounts out of term time. And while one might say that's just market forces and supply and demand, it's a market that's been artificially distorted by government intervention, and, as such, the government ought to take responsibility for it.

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Ambivalence
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I work in a school. One of the major issues with parents taking kids out of school during term-time affects some subjects more than others: if a child misses a single lesson or a few lessons in, say, geography, the next lessons will usually be independent of the things learned in the missed ones, but if a child misses lessons in, say, maths, there's a good chance that they will miss learning things which they need to use in subsequent lessons.

(This is not intended to imply that geography is "easier" than maths! just that different subjects are differently organised and some suffer much more than others from knock-on effects of missing lessons.)

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Amorya

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If the parents are not taking responsibility for a kid getting a good education, then I think the state should step in. Including ensuring the kid attends school.

But if the parents _are_ taking responsibility, are engaged and involved in the child's education, and the child is performing at the best of their ability, then the state should back off.

The question is, how do we tell the difference? If we just let the teachers decide, that'll lead to parents putting pressure on teachers. We can't just base it on results, because that penalises kids who are diligent but not clever.

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anne
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A significant issue for English schools is that the OFSTED (school inspectorate) requirement is for 95% attendance across the school. Once illness and unavoidable absences are taken out, it's a tough target for any school. Add in a good heap of term time holidays and it is an impossible target to meet.

It can be argued that this requirement already disproportionately affects schools in more deprived areas (the cost of holidays may be more of a factor for families, deprivation may be associated with more complicated living situations for children that may make attending school more difficult) and in areas with high levels of immigration (going to a family funeral or to visit a sick grandparent may mean travelling to another country and take much more time) none of which is allowed for by OFSTED.

While the 95% target remains in place (and the evidence that it makes a significant difference to outcomes for children seems to have convinced government, so there doesn't seem much sign of movement) schools have a strong incentive to deny any inessential term time absences. Of course parental choice remains - the choice is leave them in school or take them out and pay your fine.

anne

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M.
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I'm fairly amazed that so many people on here think it's acceptable to take a child out of school for something as essentially trivial as a holiday. The case was about a holiday, not illness, a family funeral etc.

If you want to be able to decide at what exactly times and dates your child is studying, then you can always home-school.

M.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by anne:
A significant issue for English schools is that the OFSTED (school inspectorate) requirement is for 95% attendance across the school. Once illness and unavoidable absences are taken out, it's a tough target for any school. Add in a good heap of term time holidays and it is an impossible target to meet.

It can be argued that this requirement already disproportionately affects schools in more deprived areas (the cost of holidays may be more of a factor for families, deprivation may be associated with more complicated living situations for children that may make attending school more difficult) and in areas with high levels of immigration (going to a family funeral or to visit a sick grandparent may mean travelling to another country and take much more time) none of which is allowed for by OFSTED.

While the 95% target remains in place (and the evidence that it makes a significant difference to outcomes for children seems to have convinced government, so there doesn't seem much sign of movement) schools have a strong incentive to deny any inessential term time absences. Of course parental choice remains - the choice is leave them in school or take them out and pay your fine.

But children don't go to school so as to enable the school to get a good score from OFSTED. Nor is that why parents bring them into the world, nor why they care for them and love them.

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up.

It's almost as if schools are there for the benefit of pupils not teachers.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
I'm fairly amazed that so many people on here think it's acceptable to take a child out of school for something as essentially trivial as a holiday. The case was about a holiday, not illness, a family funeral etc.

I wouldn't describe holidays as trivial, but I'm also struggling with the idea that doing this should be seen as OK - and I say that as a parent of two children who wrestles with the same issues about the cost of holidays as other parents. It's a tricky one, I agree, but I don't think taking your children out of school is the answer. Especially as the curriculum, even at primary ages, seems so packed with so much to cover in a short space of time that missing even a day or so, much less a week or a fortnight, could set you back quite a long way.

Surely the better solution is to find a way to stop the holiday companies' practice inflating their prices during the school holidays, rather than taking out children of school.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
But children don't go to school so as to enable the school to get a good score from OFSTED. Nor is that why parents bring them into the world, nor why they care for them and love them.

While that's true, a good OFSTED report is utterly, utterly vital for schools and a bad (or even average) one can be hugely detrimental. They're the most visible statement of how well or badly a school is doing; there's even now an advert for an online property website where they boast how their website will show where the good schools are in the area (or something similar). The pressures created by OFSTED inspections are immense and it's little wonder schools put so much store on doing everything they can to get the best possible reports.

quote:
Originally posted by L'organist
Rather than bad-mouthing the private school perhaps the state system might learn from it?

This isn't a dig at you, but I can't help thinking what would serve the state system best would be politicians stopping micro-managing and changing everything every few years, trusting teachers and allowing them to get on with what they're trained to do.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up.

It's almost as if schools are there for the benefit of pupils not teachers.
Yes - but for the benefit of all the pupils, not just the ones who need catch-up time because their parents have decided to take them off on holiday.

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mr cheesy
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Well, again, it also depends when exactly this holiday is being taken. Of course there are critical times - but I'd highly doubt that a child before age 11 is going to be losing anything of significance if a week it taken at the end of the summer term or before Christmas.

Most of the time nothing will be missed in these periods from age 11-16 - we know this because throughout my child's education at least a week was spent during these periods with no work done and teaching replaced with videos, planning nativity plays or other non-essential stuff.

If it actually turns out that the school is taking children to a Disney resort during this time with almost zero educational content (supposedly this included some lessons but in practice apparently it was less than a couple of hours during the whole time) then it is bloody hard to complain when a parent wants to do the same thing.

FWIW, my child went to every single day of school, less a few for illness. I'm not quite sure why I bothered given the very lax attitude of the school to my child's education and the general feeling that Headmaster Knows Best.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
It's almost as if schools are there for the benefit of pupils not teachers.

It's almost as if teachers are already massively overworked without parents making it more difficult than it already is.

quote:
Originally posted by L'organist Yes, public and private schools may have shorter terms but that is because they have much longer days. My sons' prep school had lessons for 27 hours a week, the state primary they had been at had lessons for 21; at secondary level state schools around here get 22 hours of teaching per week, non-boarding private average 30. If you take out the PE/ Sport lesson periods then the time difference isn't quite so marked but even so it adds up to a huge amount of extra 'contact time'. In effect, it means that private primary pupils get an extra 6 weeks of teaching time per year, secondary pupils 9 weeks. And that is being generous, because in state schools you lose 5 teaching days (in other words, a whole week) for INSET, where in the private sector professional development and training takes place at half-term or when pupils are on holiday.

The state (secondary) schools I have taught in have between 25 and 27.5 hours of lessons a week, so I don't know where you're getting your information. Primary is less but here it's only by 30 minutes a day (and that is similar in the minimum recommended in primary schools in England at 21 hours in KS1 and 22.5 in KS2). I find it hard to believe that any secondary is offering as little as 22 hours a week. Once you take into account the extra sport (which plenty of state secondaries offer as after school activities) there is pretty much no difference.

Your claim about INSET is utter nonsense too by the way - the placement of the day is spaced differently in different schools but they're all in addition to the school year of 190 days. Look at the history - they were added to teachers' working year by Kenneth Baker in the 1980s, not taken from pupils' lesson time.

And for those who are curious, yes teachers do end up either having to prepare work that can be completed independently (which is hard in itself because there is a reason we're employed to teach this stuff) or find ways to squeeze in teaching the students the things they've missed, often after school or in the holidays (as I spent this morning doing).

Taking your kids out of school to go on holiday requires you to take a serious amount of responsibility in terms of getting them caught up and keeping disruption to a minimum. It also requires you to make up for the message you send about the importance of school attendance, because it's noticeable that most children whose parents regularly take them out for holidays have a poor attitude to learning. I can think of one case where I didn't mind students being taken out, because I knew that the students' parents would make sure they requested work in good time, completed it diligently, and took responsibility for anything they didn't learn. The vast majority of parents don't do these things, and so shouldn't be taking their children out in term time.

As for whether there should be fines: I can see both sides, but I'm inclined to the view that fines should be the norm just as they are for speeding - I'm sure there are a minority of drivers who can drive safely at 60mph in a 40mph zone but it's best if no-one does it for the benefit of all. I would, however, want there to be discretion at local authority level to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances, perhaps on the same basis as it is given for staff (weddings, funerals, significant religious or cultural events, family member seriously ill). The problem with not having any enforcement system (we don't have one here) is that parents take the piss, and you end up with half the class missing at the start and end of every term.

[ 07. April 2017, 13:23: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
It's almost as if schools are there for the benefit of pupils not teachers.

It's almost as if teachers are already massively overworked without parents making it more difficult than it already is.


I'm sure the school would be easier to run altogether without the pesky pupils and their needs getting in the way.

I'm surprised, given all that we hear about youth mental health that there's such a strong attainment driven line from the government and teachers. Given the huge rates of self harm, teen suicide attempts and all the problems that kids often have because of being in school, I think it's the system's job to trust parents about when their kids shouldn't be there. Even for a holiday.

ETA: My child is at school every day. I'm not advocating for a laissez faire attitude to school, just that there is room for parents to decide what's best for their child, rather than a system that revolves around the needs of teachers to hit targets.

[ 07. April 2017, 13:36: Message edited by: Leprechaun ]

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Rather than bad-mouthing the private school perhaps the state system might learn from it?

Agreed 100%

Make sure children are in classes of 15 - 24 pupils.

Stop micro managing.

Let teachers set sensible tests.

Use specialist teachers more in some subjects.

Give teachers quality marking time and cut 90% of the crazy bureaucracy.

It's very simple.

I taught (primary) for 40 years and just teach art one afternoon a week now - I'm seeing good young teachers leave after 5 years or less - and this is an excellent school with a very good headteacher. The paperwork burden on each teacher is more than most managers have without a class to teach.

Trust the teachers.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:


ETA: My child is at school every day. I'm not advocating for a laissez faire attitude to school, just that there is room for parents to decide what's best for their child, rather than a system that revolves around the needs of teachers to hit targets.

It seems like you're going too far the other way. In fact it seems to me that the only parents who should ever be allowed to take children out for a holiday are those who never do it.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
I'm sure the school would be easier to run altogether without the pesky pupils and their needs getting in the way.

This isn't about needs though, is it? This is about parents wanting to have their week skiing in the Alps when it's cheaper in late January and their two weeks in Spain when it's cheaper in June or September. I think you'll find that teachers bend over backwards to cater for genuine needs, and the parents who pull their kids out of school on a whim take time and resources from helping those with genuine needs. If we were talking about parents who only get time off in term time, or who can genuinely only afford to take a week in a caravan in Skegness out of season then we'd be talking about need. But, barring a few cases who I would consider per my previous post to have exceptional circumstances, we're actually talking about middle class parents grabbing themselves a bargain and foisting the consequences onto others. If a fine makes them think twice then great.
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Martin60
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Education is COMPULSORY. Comply or face the consequences. Like a grown up.

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North East Quine

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Originally posted by L'organist:

quote:
at secondary level state schools around here get 22 hours of teaching per week,
Secondary schools in Aberdeenshire have 8 forty minute periods a day, five days a week, so 26 hours, 40 mins of teaching a week, with registration / assembly first thing in addition to that.

Headteachers here have discretion, but I think that taking children out of school for holidays is wrong. Scottish parents tend to have a short window of opportunity for cheaper early summer holidays as schools break up for summer a couple of weeks before the English schools and hence before the price increases are at their steepest. Classrooms here start emptying a couple of days before the official summer break-up as people try to fit holidays in then. I doubt a small fine would prove any deterrent, given the saving in cost of the holiday.

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Amorya

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Education is COMPULSORY. Comply or face the consequences. Like a grown up.

That's why I was trying to make a distinction between parents who are invested in their kids' education, and those that aren't.

Education is compulsory. School is not. Regarding taking kids out of school in term time, sometimes the alternative may be way more educational than school (a foreign holiday where you're learning about the local culture, practicing your languages etc). Sometimes, like Disneyland, it might not be — but for a child who's not lagging academically, it might still be a good thing for their life overall.

But then, if you have a kid who is only just keeping up in Maths and English, and the parents take them for a holiday, don't help them catch up on work, and expect the school to pick up the slack… that's not good for the kid, because they'll have a stressful time getting back into things.

(I know I'm ignoring the issue of whether temporarily removing a kid makes the teacher's life harder… but everyone always phrases these debates about what's best for the kid, so that's how I'm considering it.)

Amy

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Alisdair
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I agree that those of us who are adults and responsible for the well being and upbringing of children should take our responsibilities (including legal obligations) seriously.

Life is also compulsory. Education is a subset of life, therefore it is subservient. Choose life.

And, as a postscript, it's always worth remembering that 'education' comes in many forms, and that 'formal institutional education' is a small component of the category, and too frequently a poor alternative to the education which can be gained in other ways.

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Bishops Finger
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A few years ago, my brother was taken to task by the village school for removing his son and daughter a few weeks before the end of the summer term.

The reason for the removal was a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, travelling by the Trans-Siberian Railway to Ulan Bator (change at somewhere ending in -sk, I think), and spending a month or so on the Mongolian plains, living with the horse-breeding locals in their yurts.

Slightly more mind-broadening, I suspect, than a couple of weeks in a village school (extremely well-thought-of though it may be) in deepest Shropshire.

IJ

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L'organist
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Posted by mr cheesy
quote:
As you say, the "contact time" mostly consists of playing sport every afternoon. I think sport is a good thing, it'd be great if every school could offer various sporting activities to children until 5 o'clock.
But I didn't say that the extra 'contact time' was sport every afternoon. What it meant was that they went from one-and-a-half hours of sport/PE per week in the state sector to three-and-a-half timetabled at private: that still leaves an extra 4 hours per week of academic lessons at a prep, which is nearly 7 weeks of time per year, more than half a term.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

This is nonsense, in so many different ways.
In what ways? It reflects my experience of 40 years teaching. How is your experience different?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

Oh please.

As L'Organist pointed out, the chance of a teacher actually doing this is ... well, in my experience, remote. What actually happens is, they tell you it's your own damned fault, and suggest you pay for a tutor. Which they are not obligated to help you find.

And since when did teachers spend loads of one-on-one time with elementary/high school kids anyway? We live in a very good school district, but in-class time is almost always used for whole-class or small-group work, with very little one-on-one time to be stolen or otherwise taken from anybody else. Students are allowed to ask for extra help (brief) before school starts in the morning, or maybe (underline maybe) during a study session (if one exists at all). Otherwise, it's back to "get yourself a tutor."

It was demanded where I taught. And not to meet SAT targets but to cover content.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Secondary schools in Aberdeenshire have 8 forty minute periods a day, five days a week, so 26 hours, 40 mins of teaching a week, with registration / assembly first thing in addition to that.

What about sport? As I said above, in the private/independent school system here, sport practice and competition is in addition to the 8 by 40 minute school day in lessons, as are all other extra-curricular activities In the public school system, they all form part of the school day times you mention.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

Oh please.

As L'Organist pointed out, the chance of a teacher actually doing this is ... well, in my experience, remote. What actually happens is, they tell you it's your own damned fault, and suggest you pay for a tutor. Which they are not obligated to help you find.

And since when did teachers spend loads of one-on-one time with elementary/high school kids anyway? We live in a very good school district, but in-class time is almost always used for whole-class or small-group work, with very little one-on-one time to be stolen or otherwise taken from anybody else. Students are allowed to ask for extra help (brief) before school starts in the morning, or maybe (underline maybe) during a study session (if one exists at all). Otherwise, it's back to "get yourself a tutor."

It was demanded where I taught. And not to meet SAT targets but to cover content.
Okay, fine. You taught in a rare school. Now explain to me how one-on-one catchup time is "stealing from other pupils." Did you shut down your classroom in order to attend to the needs of one person? Why is this a zero sum game?

If you can't tell, I'm seriousl pissed off by your word "stealing."

[ 08. April 2017, 00:54: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
If you take a pupil out of school, the teacher has to spend one to one time with them to help them catch up. That is time stolen from other pupils.

Oh please.

As L'Organist pointed out, the chance of a teacher actually doing this is ... well, in my experience, remote. What actually happens is, they tell you it's your own damned fault, and suggest you pay for a tutor. Which they are not obligated to help you find.

And since when did teachers spend loads of one-on-one time with elementary/high school kids anyway? We live in a very good school district, but in-class time is almost always used for whole-class or small-group work, with very little one-on-one time to be stolen or otherwise taken from anybody else. Students are allowed to ask for extra help (brief) before school starts in the morning, or maybe (underline maybe) during a study session (if one exists at all). Otherwise, it's back to "get yourself a tutor."

It was demanded where I taught. And not to meet SAT targets but to cover content.
Oh, for God's sake.... Canadian situation (a patch work of 13 educational standards), so YMMV. When I was 10 or 11, I was taken out for two weeks to visit grandparents whom I rarely saw. My mother, a rather forceful woman, said to the school that I'd take my texts and lesson plans for math and English with me, and I'd catch up the rest on my own by end of term. And I did. (Forceful mother made certain that I was at work after breakfast.) Aside from five or ten minutes with my teacher each of a few days on my return, I consumed little of his extra time. As mentioned above: Trans-Siberian or Shropshire? If you have to think about the question, perhaps a geography course might be in order. Tea, watching the taiga pass, or a dreary classroom? Explain to the kid that here passed the Mongols, or show them on a blackboard map?

On a side note, I think that my experience argues in favour of narrowing the curriculum until the secondary level: English, math, a second language (choice depending on locale), science, music, something physical (anything physical for those able), history (easily integrated into English or the second language if you want to reduce the number further).

Classroom time is overrated, as is homework time. Japan has been dropping in the PISA ratings, and is notorious for the psychological stress of the students, whereas Finland, since its educational overhaul, has risen to be consistently to the top five or so. The Finns start school later, learn to read at their own rate (no one gets stressed out if the child isn't reading until eight or so), and, by international standards, do shockingly little homework. And, they're happy.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
I doubt a small fine would prove any deterrent, given the saving in cost of the holiday.

£60 per child is not a small fine.

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Baptist Trainfan
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It is if you're saving £300 on the holiday!
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Huia
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My oldest brother G (learning disabled) and I were taken out of school when our younger brother was born. We went to stay with our aunty, taking some school work with us. Aunty took her responsibilities seriously and in the 10 or so days we were there taught my brother the 5 times table. When he got back to school the teacher was amazed because they didn't think he would ever learn it. Even now, at 65 and slipping into dementia caused by Parkinson's, it's something he is very proud of.

In my time teaching I didn't begrudge spending a bit of extra time with a child if they missed school, any more than I would begrudge spending time with one having difficulties in a particular area - that (as I see it) was part of the job. Most parents didn't withdraw children for frivolous reasons and had the best interests of their child at heart.

Huia

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