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Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Ladykaza, Oct 11, 2015.
Oh look…. my 'parental' opinion was also ignored….
I see Ladykazza isn't going to respond to further posts on this thread but I do still want to challenge this statement, as everyone else has agreed with it but I don't believe it is correct.
Parents do not have a right to insist that their child does not go on off site visits nor to require the school to make alternative provision (at least, not if the visit is within normal school time). The school has the power to direct pupils "to attend at any place outside the school premises for the purposes of receiving any instruction or training included in the secular curriculum for the school", which is presumably the purpose of the off site visit. [s29 (3) Education Act 2002 for those who care about sources]. DfE expressly state that the one of the purposes of s29 (3) is enabling the school to "send a whole class on a field trip or similar activity".
Whether the school wishes to enforce that power is a different matter, but it isn't the case that parents have a right to withdraw their child from all off site visits. If the parent refuses to allow their child to go the school has no duty to make alternative provision and can treat it as an unauthorised absence.
I haven't . . .
You are correct Theo. I must improve my literacy skills. I should have said 'no-one else has disagreed with it'.....
I care very much about sources. Provision 29(3) defines broadly the 'Additional functions of governing body [of maintained schools]'. As such it continues Provision 27:
'27 Power of governing body to provide community facilities etc.
(1) The governing body of a maintained school shall have power to provide any facilities or services whose provision furthers any charitable purpose for the benefit of —
(a) pupils at the school or their families...
(4) This section has effect subject to section 28.'
Which is were things get interesting for your position. Here is Provision 28:
'28 Limits on power to provide community facilities etc.
(4) Before exercising the power under section 27(1) a governing body—
(a) shall consult—
(iii) the parents of registered pupils of the school'.
Hence this DfE document, last updated July 2014, specifying that parents can, if they wish, tell their child's school that they do not wish them to take part in any particular school trip or activity.
Now you, kaza and your colleagues may trust to your cherry-picked provision, steamroll your way over this 'issue' and chance your arms - by which I mean your careers and, presumably, your inexperience of the criminal justice system - by ignoring a parent's wishes and taking their child on a school trip for the sake of enrichment and anticipation of that pesky alternative provision - by which I mean kidnapping their child - but I would advise against it.
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All said, parents have a right to insist that their child does not go on any school trip at any time, regardless of what the school's head, janitor, dinner ladies or break supervisors might think is best.
What bizarre reply. If I didn't know you were a teetotaller Vince I'd assume you had been on the bottle.
Other sections which are about something else altogether are completely irrelevant (off site visits aren't 'community facilities'), and the form you link states
Written parental consent will not be requested from you for the majority of off-site activities offered by the school – for example, year-group visits to local amenities – as such activities are part of the school’s curriculum and usually take place during the normal school day
Which is what s29 (3) says..
I have not referred to irrelevant sections. 27, 28 & 29 are of a piece. No governing body may compel a child to participate in any trip, they must seek the consent of parents per 28.
Whether a school seeks consent is irrelevant given that a parent can, if they wish, tell their child's school that they do not want their child to take part in 'any' school trip or activity.
To argue against this is to argue for child abduction. If you disagree then you are at liberty to test it, although not thereafter for very much else.
Well if you think taking a child on a school journey during the school day without parental consent is "child abduction" (an offence for which, if it were true, heads and governors could be sentenced to 7 years in prison) you can continue thinking that. Doesn't it strike you as odd that neither unions nor LAs nor the DfE have ever issued a warning that school journeys without consent risks imprisonment?
s28 doesn't refer to needing permission under s29, it doesn't say anything about permission being needed from anyone for anything. It says parents shall be consulted by governors "Before exercising the power under section 27(1)", which is about provision of community facilities and nothing whatsoever to do with school trips.
If anyone else is still bothering to read the thread they can read the Act for themselves and decide whether they prefer your explanation or mine.
So why do schools go through the admin heavy nightmare of consent forms for every fart and whimper>?
Against parental consent, as would be the case if kaza followed your advice in post #22. Still, I would be interested to know if you would take any child on an educational trip without having gained the prior consent of their parents or guardians.
Heh. This is brilliant. You appeal to provision 29 but you haven't read its first lines. 29(1)(a) subjects 29 to 27. In turn 27 is subject to 28. Hence 29 is subject to 28(4)(a)(iii). Perhaps you don't like this chain of irrefutable reason so let me appeal to raw noun and brute proximity.
27 refers to a power of governing bodies. 29 describes the additional functions of a governing body. Are you really going to argue that these two provisions about governing bodies are unrelated with no conceivable effect upon one another? That would be a wilful mistake. As 27 is qualified by 28 so too is 29. They're in the same Act. They are successive provisions. You would not get very far in a court of law arguing that because the content of the immediately prior provision did not explicitly refer to the one you have contravened then you have not broken the law.
'Community facilities etc.' which is to say trips made as a school community to facilities considered as furtherance of children's education. It's an easy read so I am surprised that you do not get it.
Contrary to your advice, @Rott Weiler, kaza may not in practice, principle or - most importantly - law take a child on a school trip where a parent has explicitly withdrawn consent. It's there in black and white in the Education Act 2002 to which you have mistakenly appealed. To do as you would authorise is to risk prosecution for child abduction and worse if any accident occurred.
If that's your conclusion then you have less confidence in your position than I have in it.
I suggest Ladykazza or any other head wanting to know what the law on school trips is consults their LA or union as it isn't what you claim Vince but further argument here about your obtuse and confused understanding of the law is not likely to help. School trips are not "community facilities" and nothing in the Act could conceivably suggest they are.
s27 is to "enable the governing bodies of all maintained schools to provide any facilities or services which will further any charitable purpose for the benefit of their pupils, families of pupils and the wider community. This power is in addition to the governing body’s general responsibility to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school." [DFE]
29(1)(a) does not subject 29 to 27 [29 (1) is about complaints policies and has nothing to do with education off site or school trips]. Heads may safely in principle or law take a child on a curriculum-related school trip during the school day without obtaining parental consent. It's there in black and white in the Education Act 2002 to which I have correctly referred. Obviously in practice a head cannot make a child go on a school trip if their parent refuses to send them, no-one would ever suggest they could.
Not at all, just expressing my confidence that heads can read the law and guidance and make their own minds up.
I meant to add that the more important practical consequence for heads is that because parents have no legal right to withdraw their child from (curriculum related, school day) trips the school therefore has no duty to make alternative provision if a parent refuses to send their child on the trip.
Who will assuredly not tell heads that they have the power to transport children contrary to the wishes of their parents and guardians.
I imagine you feel that 'community facilities' refers to shared lavatories, but again you ignore 'etc.' because it suits you.
The power of provision 27 is limited, as previously indicated, by provision 28, specifically in this case 28(4)(a)(iii).
You really are a literalist, aren't you? Just as part of 29 is subject to 27 so all of 29 is subject to 27; 29(1)(a) is only an explicit example. The Education Act 2002 is a single entity - you can't just cherry-pick a line from it for your convenience and shred the rest. If a thing is not mentioned in the Act then do you regard it as up for grabs? Tell me: Do you think it in a head's power to beat a child with their shoe because the Act does not mention 'shoe'? Get a hold of yourself.
Really? 'No-one'? Then what on Earth were you doing here:
You've been arguing for a page that heads have the legal right to take children on trips against the wishes of their parents. Nice U-turn. Not only can heads not do this in practice but they cannot do it in principle nor law.
They can certainly decide whether they wish to ignore the wishes of a parent and take their child on a school trip but they cannot assume that their reading changes the law a jot.
If a parent withdraws their global consent for school trips, schools have no legal power to conscript their child's participation and must instead, in accordance with their educational and safeguarding responsibilities, make alternative provision.
Let's be clear, @Rott Weiler. You no longer believe that heads have the power to take children on school trips against the wishes of their parents and guardians. You should make your position clear, just in case anyone significant reading this recognises you, or worse - someone believes your previous bogus advice, ruins their career and lands themselves a criminal record on your say-so.
You are completely wrong Vince, and my comments have been consistent throughout, but I really can't be bothered to argue any longer.with someone who accuses me of giving bogus advice. I won't be replying to anything else you post here. Goodbye.
To advise heads in kaza's situation, as you have, that the Education Act 2002 gives them the power to conscript the attendance of children off-site contrary to the wishes of their parents or guardians, is bogus. There are no two ways about it and I'm not going to mince words where people's careers are at stake. This is serious stuff. The Act does not do as you say and I cannot understand why you would dream of saying such a ridiculous and a potentially dangerous thing on a public message board frequented by your colleagues.
No classes to prepare? No marking to do? No data to play around with?
Ah. A further post by another poster has been removed.
While this is not a reply to the OP's request for comments, I feel obliged to say that I now have a mental image of Vince_Ulam [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines], enunciating rather slowly, speaking in perfect accent-free English and using elaborate vocabulary as if to beguile his fellow conversationalists. (No doubt if he reads this he will find all sort of fault in my simple writing!)
While I haven't a clue what he's waffling on about and suspect (as maybe do others) that he has nowt better to do than post on here, I have been duly entertained by his contributions and thank him for them.
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I know it's a long time after the OP, but this is relevant to me this week.
I agree with you, Vince_Ulam.
It is worth mentioning also that an individual's interpretation of the wording of the Act is less important in a Court of Law than what would be considered reasonable.
If a parent can give a judge a satisfactory explanation for not wanting their child to participate in an off site activity, the judge will find in the parent's favour.
Everything in law is about what is in the best interest of the child, and unless a school can prove that a parent does not have their child's best interest at heart, they will not be able to convince a judge that a child should be ordered to attend an off site activity when the parent withdraws consent.
Schools need the support of parents in order to operate successfully and effectively, but parents also need to feel that schools support them since they entrust them with their most precious possessions.
If schools are inflexible and unaccommodating, parents will react accordingly and the relationship between them will be strained.
Schools that try to punish parents for expressing their anxieties over their children's welfare, ultimately only cause harm to the students themselves - and that is not in their best interest.
OP - Is the parent expected to pay for said trips? If so perhaps this may be the issue? If not, has she said why she doesn't want them to go on the trips?
Perhaps after her little darlings start complaining that they had to sit back at school all alone doing written work whilst their friends had fun on trips she will change her mind?
I remember when I was in school myself the parents didn't even get told unless they were expected to pay - my mum once showed up to collect my brother for a medical appointment only to find that his class was out on a trip somewhere (and they weren't even sure where!)