Anyone heard of cooperation?

Remembering that my position was that of headteacher, it might be a surprise that I’d take a different position to my colleagues on this:

Four MILLION school days are lost in a year to unauthorised holidays as record numbers of parents take their children away during term-time

Thing is, with my parent’s hat on, it’s damned difficult for parents to combine enough to have both him and her, plus the children, away at the same time and school holidays are the most dire time of all to take them.

Being in the independent sector way back when, we had a certain flexibility and one of the things you always wanted to do was accommodate parents as much as was humanly possible – after all, they were paying my salary.

A typical situation may have been, say, a father approaching me and setting out their situation.  Fine, will the daughter make up what she’s missed by doing a little extra homework in the weeks following the return?

But the critical thing, the thing vigorously underscored, was the attitude of cooperation on it, neither party laying down the law and threatening the other.  I can’t recall one time – and I mean that – where the parent himself did not come in saying the child would make up what was needed.

They never fully did, it was the principle of the thing.

For my part, I always said at our staff meetings that we needed to accept the child will not get 100% of the programme, that programmes set by major publishing houses were unrealistic anyway, especially on staff, so a reasonable percentage of it, maybe 85% over the year, would be fine.

That’s different to parents taking the amber fluid and I’ll say again, possibly because we were independent, that I don’t recall one incident where this happened, where the parent was unreasonable.  Thus, because of results, plus this attitude, we tended to hold our numbers.

So this sort of thing about fines in the public sector – I just shake my head sadly.

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4 comments for “Anyone heard of cooperation?

  1. Mudplugger
    February 19, 2018 at 08:16

    The independent sector is rather like when you book a table at the restaurant, paying in advance, but then decide not to turn up for the food – you’ve still paid for it but, as the sole paying customer, that’s your decision.

    The state sector is a ‘free restaurant’, where the food is provided free of charge on condition that you turn up for the booking – if you fail to turn up, the ‘food’ is wasted, ‘food’ which someone else has paid for. That’s a completely different customer-supplier relationship.

  2. dearieme
    February 19, 2018 at 12:35

    My father would sometimes take our family holiday to include the last week of summer term. As he said, there was usually no serious study done in that week anyway. Also, it gave other kids the pleasant but unfamiliar feeling of being top of the class for a week. 🙂

  3. Lord T
    February 19, 2018 at 15:27

    Funny but with inset days, schools closing for various reasons by teachers and councils there never seems to be a problem with that,

    My view is they can catch up a week or two off. It is a seven year course after all but there should be an expectation from parents and pupils that no holidays in the run up to the exams.

    • February 19, 2018 at 17:28

      Of course, I was looking at lower form levels.

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