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Restoring Headteachers Discretion for Authorising School Absence

Comment 3rd July 2010

SInce 2007 I think, all absence from school is unauthorised unless it is for exceptional circumstances (bereavment etc).

Prior to that, absence was authorised with the headteachers approval up to a maximum of 10 days per year.

What was wrong with the old system?  Are headteachers not to be trusted to excercise their discretion? Are they really so irresponsible?

We used to use our 10 days for holidays and long weekends to give our children life in the great outdoors away from the classroom and for long haul foreign holidays when prices are cheaper.  And why not?  Its fantastic for their wider education and helps disperse some of the summer holiday crush.  I am sure if the headteacher felt we were exploiting the system they would have not authorised it.

What happens at the moment is that parents less scrupulous than ourselves simply lie about illness, family reunion etc and that makes an honest person really cross!

Why does this matter?

Its important that headteachers have discretion as its their school and they are responsible for its results.  Its important that kids get the same rights for holiday as the staff that teach them – that's right – teachers go on holiday in term time sometimes!  Its important for parents because we feel constantly watched and suspected by the government about the way we bring up our children.  Many parents like ouyrselves do a good job and help instil great academic performance in their kids, with extra home learning, loads of books etc.  I feel the education regulations have stolen part of our childrens childhood.

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