School Attendance

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by jcb, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    Here is a link to the UK Supreme Court decision: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2016-0155-judgment.pdf

    The decision turns on the meaning of "regular attendance" under UK law. Lady Hale and the four other members of the court concluded: "that in section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996, “regularly” means “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”.

    If you don't want to read the decision, and its discussion of the history of compulsory education in the UK, here is a video where the court announced the decision.
     
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  2. Evan waldrop

    Evan waldrop Earning My Ears

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    at the school district my dad works for they get paid by the children's attendance and how many students are in class each day which affects how much each school in the district gets.

    -evan
     
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  4. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

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    Wow, I would not like to be a teacher in that district. Especially if I was at a struggling school where student attendance might not be very high. I don't see how it would be the teacher's job to keep the kid in school and have them attend everyday.
     
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  5. Evan waldrop

    Evan waldrop Earning My Ears

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    I beleive the teacher gets paid the same no matter what I think the money per kid kinda thing just goes to that school as like money to spend on repairs and books kind of like a grant system I think
     
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  6. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

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    Oh okay so its not the teachers who gets paid based on student attendance. The state likely gives incentives based on overall school attendance. That makes sense and would seem to be pretty common.

    I know in my district if schools got like 95+% attendance on standardized testing days they got grants and incentives from the state.
     
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  7. dina444444

    dina444444 DIS Veteran

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    It's like that in California. The school district I grew up in received something like $35/student per day. I know they asked parents to voluntarily pay for the time you missed if it was for things like vacation etc towards the districts education foundation. I know that my mom did that a few times when I got pulled out to go on vacation.
     
  8. Scrapdolly

    Scrapdolly Mouseketeer

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    In the UK in the maintained school (public schools) children are not expected to have more than 10 days absence and parents are discouraged from taking children out of school in term time and a couple of years ago fines were introduced to discourage parents from taking vacations in school term time.
    I recently retired as a head of a school for 3 - 11 year olds and my school was an independent school (private school) so was a little different and my knowledge of the maintained (state) schools isn't as good but hopefully others will help. I would allow two weeks absence but say I believed it to be to the detriment of the child's education (and actually to their socialising too ... many found it hard to come back when they had missed out on friendship things and it always led to a rocky few days or even weeks) After two weeks I was meant to regard it as unauthorised absence (truanting) and report it to the education authority.Very difficult in a school where parents were paying fees - whole mess of issues there.

    There are several issues I would like to raise though.

    One is that the travel companies hike up the fares in school holidays and so the reason many parents take kids out of school in term time is to get cheaper rates. I get this. I think the blame lies with the travel companies. Yes some hike for peak seasons but it is outrageously different in some cases. There was talk of trying to re-jig the school year to spread shorter holidays though the year to try and stop this happening but for all sorts of reasons this has not happened as yet.

    However, can I also point out that the hikes apply to teachers too. And we are NOT highly paid. Having worked in education all my life I have had to pay the highest prices for holidays all my life. Children at least grow up - teachers pay the higher rates always. And we cannot take a week out. We feel your pain - truly. We live it too. There are several years when we wanted to go on a specific holiday and ended up being unable to go at all as we were priced out of the market.

    Another issue is missing curriculum time and yes, it does matter and yes it does have an effect. No matter what age. You take a six year old out for two weeks when they are just introducing a new concept for example multiplication or adjectives. That child has missed out on that input. When they return they, understandably, don't understand and the teacher has to spend a lot of time going over it for just that one pupil, sometimes to the detriment of the other 30 in the class who need their help too. That just about works for one child but multiply that by half a dozen kids out of school and returning at any given time and you lower the quality of the education for every child in the class. And unless you have tried to run individualised programmes for a class of 30 children you have no idea how complex that is or how demoralising it is to know you are letting down your children as you simply cannot do it that efficiently. No matter how good you are or how hard you work.

    Parents will often say they want work to take with them to do whilst the children are away. Again that takes time to sort and prepare and I know my staff were often working 12+ hour days anyway so this is on top. Again multiply that up for multiple absences. It's not as straightforward as it seems.

    In addition to catering in these ways for children on holidays away from school, teachers are also managing this for children who are unwell and need work catering for specially.

    And yes, if parents decide to take them out and the children do less well (others in regular attendance may also do less well if teacher time is re-directed) you can say well that is the parents' choice. However the state schools in the UK are inspected and judged on performance in national tests (thankfully as an independent school we were not) Whilst these tests are flawed for all sorts of reasons and whilst the quality of education provided should not be reliant on tests such as these (whole mess of issues there) the fact is, they are judged on those results and it has an effect not only on the reputation of the school, the moral of the staff and the parents but also impacts upon funding for the school.

    I absolutely agree that the state should not have the say so about what parents do or do not do with their children's school attendance int his way, I can see why they tried to introduce a system to stop so many children routinely being taken out of school throughout the year.

    I post all this not to upset or inflame anyone, just trying to explain some of the rationale from a teacher's perspective ... well an ex teacher who enjoyed her first ever holiday in September last year!!
     
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  9. Felicis

    Felicis DIS Veteran

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    I am a teacher, I have no issue with kids missing school in the primary years. I encourage it even, as often the experiences teach them so much. We have a policy at our school that no extra work is given to any students who are off school for holidays, so that solves that issue. For the most part, I don't have an issue with what children miss out on - though it becomes more of an issue as the children get older.

    I am in NZ though, we seem to be somewhat more relaxed than many other countries.
     
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  10. pjweaver

    pjweaver just happy to be here

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    Congratulations @Scrapdolly on your retirement. I hope you enjoy your new found free time and are able to cope with not planning every minute of your day.

    I have no issues with kids missing all the time they want, take them for a year long trip around the world and say you home schooled them if you can. The problem comes when students miss class and either do not get their assignments that they will miss, or don't bother doing them. When they return from missing a week are we supposed to stop teaching to the 28 kids that were in school so the one or two can catch up?

    Without going too deep into educational dogma let's just say schools have rules just like jobs do, the difference is in school you are paid in knowledge. You are free to do things outside of work or school, such as sports or scouts or band or vacations; These things should not interfere with attendance. Just try working at a new job for a few months then telling your employer you need to miss a few weeks, but that you will catch up when you return.
     
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  11. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for sharing this. I know with the specific UK case in question one of the reasons cited for the rule is the negative impact it can have on the other kids in the class when the teacher has to take additional time out to get that one student up to speed with what they missed

    I think there is a balance - between costs (as you say, a lot more expensive to go when there are school breaks), the value of spending time as a family, etc. vs the negative impact of being out of class. And I think people just need to consider the impact not just on their child but on the other children in the class and on the teacher(s) (as you have pointed out).

    So easy to day "the parent knows what is best for their child and how to raise them" (I do agree with that - for that child) - but there are others impacted as well and as long as people are mindful of that I think it can work
     
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  12. DVC_Dad_Canada

    DVC_Dad_Canada Mouseketeer

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    When i was deciding on our first WDW, when my son was in grade 3 and my son in grade one, their principal gave the best answer. "20 years from now they won't remember what they did in school that week, but they will remember your trip. Have a fantastic time."
     
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  13. manicstreet

    manicstreet Mouseketeer

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    I don't know where I stand on this issue. I have a daughter in 1st grade. I would maybe take her out of school for a long weekend, but o don't think I would take her out for a week. She has all summer off for us to take a vacation and frankly she loves going to school.

    However, I couldn't care less what others choose to do. They know their children better than I do.
     
  14. MarkE83

    MarkE83 Mouseketeer

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    Just going to copy and paste what I have written for the "feedback" page Pete mentioned in the show...


    Hi Pete,


    As per your request, I'd like to provide some feedback on taking kids out of school, particularly in the U.K.


    With regards to "why" parents take their children out of school in the U.K.- the answer is very simple, the same holiday could literally cost half as much if you go during school time.


    The U.K. Education system typically has the same holidays across the board:

    Christmas break runs for two weeks, from the Friday before Christmas to a day or two after New Years.

    "Half term" is then a week in the middle of February.

    Easter holidays are typically the two weeks either side of Easter Sunday.

    "Half term" - another week off that always starts with the last Monday in May.

    "Summer holidays" - from the middle/end of July to the start of September

    "Half term" - the last week of October.


    So with these school dates pretty much set in stone, it's pretty easy to predict when most people with a family will want to take a vacation, and the law of supply and demand kicks in: if a flight from London to Orlando costs £500 in June, it costs £1000 in August (I'm not kidding! The prices are crazy!).


    So you can understand why, from a cost perspective, many people would want to do it: for a family of four (2 adults and 2 teenagers), the cost of just getting to Disney can double; and it wasn't cheap to begin with.


    But here is the problem (and my experience here is that my wife is a teacher): a classroom environment works best when all of the children are present.


    The more time the child spends in school the better. So when a child misses even a day of school, they return behind the rest of the class, and the teacher now has to disrupt the flow of the next lesson because 1 child doesn't know what they're talking about. It removes the ability to focus on the class as a whole. The longer that child misses, the harder it is for them to catch up, and the more time the teacher has to spend with them going over stuff they missed, meaning the less time they spend with the class as a whole.


    My wife explains teaching as giving six one hour presentations a day. To prepare each of those presentations can take at least 20-30 minutes outside of school, and marking books also takes time, again done away from the classroom. A "good" teacher in the U.K. Currently works in the region of 50-60 hours per week, works weekends, and during the holiday periods simply uses the time to catch up on marking, or get a head start on planning some lessons when school starts back up.


    So, as I'm sure you can appreciate, students missing class is a teachers worst nightmare. It is bad enough when 1 child misses a week- but could you imagine the chaos if 1 child had a week off, then when that child returned, another child had a week off!? The teacher could effectively be attempting to teach 3 different things every lesson.


    So, to discourage this, the government has given local education authorities the power to fine parents for taking their children out of school during term times. If you wish to take a child out of school, 99% of the time the school will not authorize it; then fine you if you take them anyway.


    John made a point during the podcast: "if I want to take my child out of school, that's on me"....

    That is a view many take, but they are not considering that they are not just taking their child out of school: they are disrupting the classroom environment for potentially weeks on end. The remaining children notice that someone is missing from their group. When the child returns, the teacher is then trying to bring them up to speed; so not giving the class as a whole the attention they need.


    The bottom line from an education point of view, is that children missing time from their free education is terrible for their and their classmates education; and should be discouraged. That is why the fines exist.


    Sadly, the fines are often not deterrent enough: most families take the vacation anyway, and pay the fine; as a £3000 vacation plus a £160 fine is cheaper than a £6000 holiday.


    I will admit, I am biased: as the husband of a teacher, I wish the penalty for taking children out of school was worse than it is now. The education is free, and incredibly good. Parents in many other countries would give anything to have an education system like ours; yet many over here abuse and mistreat it. All to (more often than not) save £200 on a cheap holiday to Europe.
     
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  15. MrsHull

    MrsHull Mouseketeer

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    I took my high schooler out for a week in 2015 and it was fine. I let all the teachers know in advance, he did his makeup work, and any holes in his education for missing that time are negligible. We are doing the same thing this fall. Though, now, he is homeschooled, so we can work around the time off.
     
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  16. mcd2745

    mcd2745 These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!

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    While it ultiamtely has to be a personal decision for each family...I have an issue with a public school system telling parents what they can or cannot do with their children. If you send your children to a private school, as we do, then it's a little different. They can make whatever rules they choose. However, in a public school, as long as the child's grades don't suffer, and they don't have other absences that then add up to an "excessive" amount...if the parents choose to pull them out that, there should be no issue with it.

    There is another thing that bugs me. If schools (public, private - doesn't matter) are going to take a hard stance against anyone pulling their kids out for a vacation, they must not give any kind of homework, projects, assignments, etc. for the kids to do over any of the scheduled breaks. If a family is willing to bite the bullet financially to "do the right thing" and wait for spring/Easter break, or Christmas break, or President's week, etc. to take their vacation (as the schools prefer), it is incredibly wrong to then assign all kinds of work for the kids to do during the break (while teachers enjoy their break without any work) .
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  17. MarkE83

    MarkE83 Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, how dare the publicly (i.e. Tax payer) funded school put the needs of the whole class ahead of the wants of an individual! If you agreed to send your child to a public school, you are agreeing to their terms. You can't ignore the ones you don't like- what example does that teach? Oh we were told not to but we're going to anyway... I'm sure that's a common thing parents teach their children NOT to do...



    You clearly don't know any teachers. I've come across many of them in my life, and have never (literally, never) met one who doesn't do work during the holidays - whether it's planning the lessons they are going to teach in a few weeks time, marking the lessons they've already taught, or documenting something i.e. what they're doing to prevent the failing kids falling further behind, researching the ever changing exam specifications or trawling the internet for examples to make sure the kids aren't plagurising work... none of that can be done during the day whilst they're actually teaching.
     
  18. mcd2745

    mcd2745 These Mickey pretzels are making me thirsty!

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    I know many, including my brother - who is away on vacation right now since NYC public schools are closed for the week.
     
  19. MarkE83

    MarkE83 Mouseketeer

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    Maybe is a cultural thing- in the
    UK most teachers would never dream of taking an actual vacation when they only get a week off. In a 1 week holiday my wife usually gives herself two weekdays off and works the rest.

    Does the US struggle to recruit teachers? There is a growing issue in the U.K. Where schools are struggling, and newly qualified teachers are typically lasting 1-2 years, then leaving due to the crazy workloads and demands of the job. There is very much a "blame the teachers" culture that is developing over here - it's as if the kids aren't allowed to fail anything simply because they can't grasp something or haven't put the effort in- it simply must, for some reason be the teachers fault. Jut another contribution to the tension between schools and parents when it comes to taking time off...
     
  20. Smittolis

    Smittolis Mouseketeer

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    Having been a long time teacher, educator & lecturer both here in the US and in the UK, there are a numerous catastrophic variables at play that ultimately manifest themselves in ill conceived 'solutions' with the best of intentions.

    The vast majority of teachers within the public sector in the UK are great hard working educators who truly care about their kids development. However, this majority of teachers are also underpaid and undervalued. This is exacerbated by an ever growing entitlement mentality whereby parents feel it is the schools duty to not only educate their children, but also act as a pseudo parent admonishing them from any personal accountability. Education begins at home ;o)

    The myth that teachers have '8 weeks off' is just not true, of course, they get a great summer that does include a number of long weeks away from work. However, during this time most will be attending professional development courses, seminars, teacher training, as well as planning for the next year. No one is suggesting that they don't enjoy nice prolonged periods in summer, but it isn't 8 weeks as some would have you believe.

    The introduction of 'fines' levied on parents who take their children out of school for 'vacation' time was a well intentioned measure to deter families from going. I do not agree that this is the best course of action, however, if you are saving $1000 by going a week prior to a school break, paying a fine of $200 or so is good business! Whether you believe in the course of action is obviously a different matter! The issue that is now at the forefront of discussion is the notion of the State dictating when you can take your children on 'vacation'.

    In the US system its slightly different, drastically different within the private sector. If you teach your kids to be proactive and accountable and work with their teachers to cover work and topics missed then no one has issues with it. The private sector deals with this matter much more efficiently simply based upon the premise that it isn't so rigid nor hamstrung by the notion of targets nor of a fixed uniform curriculum.

    From a development perspective, I find it astonishing that people think that 1 week of missed classes will be detrimental to your overall development. If that was the case, anyone who contracts mono or suffers from other debilitating issues would simply be done for. While i see the point of missing key aspects of a class / topic can be a little problematic with regards to being out of sync with class mates, however, that is based upon the assumption that the class itself is a linear development model and all students are at the same point. We all know this isn't the case, so having varying degrees of understanding and abilities within a particular topic is normal, so artificially creating this (while not ideal) is not such a big deviation from the norm.

    I personally have no issues pulling my children from school for family based activities that will enrich their lives on a 'big picture level'. Conversely, i have no issues with other parents that do the same so long as there is a concerted effort to make amends. An element of give and take if you will.
     
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  21. Pluto80

    Pluto80 Mouseketeer

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    My husband and I are both teachers in the UK so found the discussion very interesting this week.

    It's important to note that this same father took his daughter out of school again later on in the year. He got fined again, and paid the fine. This was because he was unable to argue his daughter had good attendance.....due to the previous holiday he'd taken her on. This fact had not need reporte much by the media, strangely ;-)
     

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