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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33004
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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We took the children out of school family visit to South

Customer Question

We took the children out of school for a family visit to South Africa during term time. It was the only time we could see my sister (who lives in Australia, but was visiting during that specific time in South Africa,) who we have not seen in literally 10 years. We were home schooling during the time when the tickets were booked. The school was aware of the trip when the children started school. The letter to the school was addressed to the head teacher, governing body of the school and the local authority. None of the above made any objection to the trip. Until we got back. Now we have been summoned by the EWO for a meeting. Where do we stand legally with regards ***** ***** family visit? (We do have a right to family life, even though it is not in the UK- and unusual arrangements need to be made to uphold that).
What upsets us MOST about all of that is that the school is not supporting our children as expected!
1. Our son has a statement of special needs and the school is not implementing what is required on the statement. (We have been very patient for 7 months now)
2. Our daughter is so unhappy at school that she is suffering from Trichotillomania. The best the school can do is to 'keep an eye’; no inclusion officer has taken charge of creating a support plan for her.
3. Our other daughter was sexually assaulted and we are still awaiting the school to look into who can offer her counseling support, which is DESPERATELY needed.
So here is the school, complaining about us trying to offer our children a basic right, and they let us down on every other need. Were do we stand legally on both areas a) the visit and b) the school failing our children.
Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Did you actually discuss the holiday with the school before the children started there
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Clare

The oldest daughter was in school, as she was offered a place first, when the visit was booked. (So we knew she had to take time out of school for the visit.) As soon as the visit was booked, her school was informed and they said it was ok, as long as we were prepared to take school work with us to do. Of course it was ok. We put it in writing later than the verbal conversation, and before we left.

Thus, when the other 2 started school the school knew that they had a booked visit to see the family.

I trust this clarifies what you asked.


Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry but the law is very clear on this point and you could face a fine for removing the children from school during Term time.
I also have to be blunt it is not a Human Rights issue as it is not about the "Right to a Family life" and trying to argue that it is will simply make you look foolish - this was a holiday albeit one where you were able to see family
Your strongest argument is that the holiday was organised before the younger children joined the school and you had already discussed matters regarding the oldest child.
Assuming that you did indeed do some home schooling to take advantage of the trip you should also produce that.
When you see the EWO apologise for the misunderstanding and point out that you had informed the school before the younger children started and also that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity etc etc - then do on to raise the other matters that give you cause for concern
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm just not too sure why we would be in trouble as the Head said it's ok to go? She surely should have known better, and as she is an authority, we just took her word for it.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry - I had thought that you had not get formal permission from the Head.
If you did then yes you are entitled to rely on that

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