Grieving children can’t have extra days off, schools minister warns

The Telegraph is reporting that Nick Gibb has said children can’t have extra days off school, even after a funeral, because absence affects grades.

Nick Gibb warned that while pupils can have a day off to attend a funeral at the discretion of the headteacher, they are not allowed to take “extended holiday on the back of that funeral”. 

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Gibb said: “The rules say you can’t take leave from school during term time except in exceptional circumstances.

“If it’s something like a funeral or something, then the head teacher would be able to give permission to attend the funeral, but not to have an extended holiday on the back of that funeral or other compassionate circumstances.” 

He warned that taking just one week off during term time can impact a child’s GCSE grades and said that fewer children are absent from school following tough new rules on days off. 

Mr Gibb added: “We tightened the rules, the rules have always been the case that you should not take time out of terms to go on holiday, but there was an impression given that every parent was entitled to two weeks leave to take a child on holiday…”

More at: Grieving children can’t have extra days off, schools Minister warns

 

Do you agree with Nick Gibb’s interpretation of what does and does not constitute exceptional circumstances?

Should a grieving child be allowed more time off than a day for funeral?

More generally, are there any heads who appreciated the harder line being taken by the government, not just because it should result in better attendance, but also because they will be put in fewer difficult situations having to make decisions over individual cases and justifying these to parents?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Categories: Leadership, Parenting and Policy.

Comments

  1. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove ‘or other compassionate circumstances’?Is this guy for real? He should butt out and accept these are HT decisions, not his.

  2. V3RONICADHALL

    SchoolsImprove So if a parent dies a pupil has to,first most,be mindful of their schools’ attendance statistics? #fail #grievingisforlosers

  3. MadgeJesss

    SchoolsImprove If a parent dies the child is “allowed” only one day off for the funeral.We are being governed by aliens.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove I struggle to see the point of Nick Gibb in education; if anyone can enlighten me I’d be very grateful #stealingaliving

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove I struggle to see the point of Nick Gibb in education; if anyone can enlighten me I’d be very grateful #stealingaliving

  6. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove A cheating AET academy in his own constituency, only annulled results of primary in West Sussex!

  7. marymered

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove How much longer were the hols at Gibb’s prep school? Didn’t seem to impede his rise, sadly – for our schools.

  8. abbyaug

    terryfish OHaganCarmel No wonder more children have mental health problems when death of a loved one is seen as an inconvenience.

  9. Gibb is saying that if a family funeral took place at the other end of the country, parents, grieving themselves, should leave the funeral immediately and travel through the night so that the child can get to school the next day.   To do otherwise will be considered a ‘holiday’.
    Gibb values grades above humanity and compassion.

  10. rebecca_symonds

    SchoolsImprove actually lost 4 words no wonder so many concerned 4 the mental health of children. Since when is grief an extended holiday?

  11. binafin

    He should read some of the evidence base concerning this subjects, bereaved children who feel supported by their school will do much better academically. Being harsh and not compassionate would actually result in lower results, even if you didn’t consider children’s emotional well-being. Please listen to the experts as well as to the experience of bereaved children and young people!!!

  12. WendyC116

    SchoolsImprove my highest ability child had almost a whole term off thru illness last year-My lowest ability child didn’t take a day off

  13. thiskidsthinkin But Gibb’s comments put subtle pressure on heads not to grant compassionate leave for funerals of more than one day.  Heads will feel pressurised to comply because Ofsted looks at absences.

  14. thiskidsthinkin

    Janet2 thiskidsthinkin Depends on the head. Most will send a child home if they are dealing badly with a death, and ,it depends on how we as parents react. Here (Northern Ireland), we tend to let children see the body and attend the wake for while before being left with one of the Mummys (the rest of the Mummys are stuck in the kitchen making endless tea and sandwiches at the wake). Makes it more a matter of fact thing that happens.

  15. thiskidsthinkin

    Janet2 thiskidsthinkin Depends on the head. Most will send a child home if they are dealing badly with a death, and ,it depends on how we as parents react. Here (Northern Ireland), we tend to let children see the body and attend the wake for while before being left with one of the Mummys (the rest of the Mummys are stuck in the kitchen making endless tea and sandwiches at the wake). Makes it more a matter of fact thing that happens.

  16. thiskidsthinkin

    Janet2 thiskidsthinkin Depends on the head. Most will send a child home if they are dealing badly with a death, and ,it depends on how we as parents react. Here (Northern Ireland), we tend to let children see the body and attend the wake for while before being left with one of the Mummys (the rest of the Mummys are stuck in the kitchen making endless tea and sandwiches at the wake). Makes it more a matter of fact thing that happens.

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