May 23rd, 2016

Reason for 14-year-old to be out of school one day in early afternoon

Setting: modern-day London (any area is up for grabs, the canon does not specify); if it helps, this is set in springtime

Attempted search terms: combinations of "british", "school", "schedule", "time", "day", etc. - I got a ton of links to British Schools in other countries, generic descriptions of what a timetable does, even occasionally a regular school schedule. Any attempts to throw in terms regarding being out of school only pulled up links to American news articles, which tells me I'm probably using the wrong terminology (as I'm an American who's never been across the Atlantic). Absolutely stuck here!

I'm writing a fanfic for a film set in modern-day London. In the film, two sisters are leaving the cinema at somewhere after 4-ish (4:30 at the latest). The one appears to be about 17; my English friend says it's quite reasonable for her to have classes at a different time so there's no need for a reason for her to be not in school at the time. However, the younger girl appears about 14, and all my friend could tell me was that she should have been in class at the time the film started (in order to be leaving the cinema at that time, she'd have to be starting the film around 2/2:30-ish, I'd think, depending on the film); my friend's been out of school too long to help me come up with any valid reasons why not. (I'm aware that this being a film, they might have simply not thought things through, but I feel like there ought to be some sort of reason.)

What I know this is not:
- a case of truancy; given who the girls' mother is and the way their activities are treated in the film, it's not seen as any issue, so I'm sure she's not skipping school
- a holiday for all the schools; it's established in the rest of the film that other schools are in session (many running later in the day than I'd expect for American schools, but I'm told that school schedules can be all over the place and with students involved in after-school programs that could be quite plausible)

If this were in the U.S. I'd suggest that it was an early dismissal due to teacher meetings in the afternoon, but I don't know if this is a thing done in England too, and if so, what is it called? (Assuming it can be limited to her school only) Terminology in these areas is difficult to locate. The other thing my friend suggested was maybe a short day schedule in that girl's particular school for another reason, like maybe it's a regular thing? She wasn't sure, and I figured I'd better ask here if I wanted it to be thought-out as much as possible. It may be a case of imposing logic on an illogical canon (which is not unheard of!) but I like to make things as realistic as possible. Since absolutely nothing is said in the film of which school they attend, or even which area of London they're in, I have complete freedom to assign those details as I like.

Solution: Thank you, everyone! It looks like an INSET day is the solution for why the 14-year-old is not in school that day. That will work beautifully in my story and adds some logic to the film (which could use it, lol). Your comments and suggestions were much appreciated!