Parents' fury at routine appointment ban
11:30am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A BAN on taking children from school for routine appointments such as dental check-ups has been slammed as “heavy-handed” and “ridiculous” by angry parents in Ammanford.
Carmarthenshire Council has written to parents to inform them that head teachers are no longer able to authorise time off for such appointments.
The letter also states holidays taken in term time will also be classed as unauthorised. It adds that unauthorised absences could lead to a fine.
It comes after the local authority was criticised by Estyn inspectors for their attendance figures.
“It’s a ridiculous move,” fumed one parent. “It seems so heavy-handed that what could amount to an hour away from school for an important health check can be classed in the same way as playing truant.
“These appointments can be difficult to get and even harder to arrange if you only have a small window in which to book them.
“And some parents have very valid reasons for taking a holiday in term time, such as money or their own holiday allowances.
The council are being very short-sighted.”
AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas described the rules as “honourable” but lacking “a dose of reality”.
He added: “Pupils come from a diverse range of households – some with a single working parent and others with caring responsibilities in the family home.
“Carmarthenshire Council must respect that a one-size-fits-all, draconian policy like this is unfair.”
A council spokesman said: “The new rule refers to routine appointments such as dentist’s, optician’s, etc. which can be arranged in advance, it does not refer to doctor or hospital appointments.
If it is impossible for a parent to arrange a routine appointment outside school hours we advise them to speak to the head teacher.”
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