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Government crackdown on school absentees.

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anotheoldgit | 10:51 Sun 19th Feb 2012 | News
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http://www.dailymail....-including-fines.html

While I agree something should be done about truancy, I am not sure what I think about parents taking their children out of school to take advantage of cheap holidays abroad.

Could the government crack down on holiday firms for increasing their prices during school breaks?

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no, that's just the famous 'market economy' at work, and all governments worship the markets.

You might say the school-holiday prices are the 'real' prices and people get discounts if they take their holidays at less popular periods.
Ridiculous idea, which will penalise all sorts of families for all sorts of reasons, but you cna hardly blame the tour operators for pandering to supply and demand.
As a farmer's daughter my father was not allowed to take his holiday during the summer time when us children were not at school as it was a busy time for farming. He was allowed to take a week in September and Christmas was never a problem. We always had extra holidays and it never done us any harm. We never went on a package holiday, just a caravan by the sea as a family. Within reason I think parents should be allowed a week a year when they are able to take their children from school away with them on a family holiday.
Indeed, flump. That's why the schools provide about fourteen weeks holiday each year for parents to be with their children.

The holiday companies will say that they do not increase their prices during school holiday periods but decrease them during term time to attract more custom. It’s called supply and demand. It is also one of the things parents should take on board before having children. After all, it’s hardly a new phenomenon. However, all that is beside the point. It is not down to the holiday companies to enforce the education laws.

Taking children out of school in term time is now, thankfully, prohibited by many education authorities unless there are very exceptional circumstances. It harms the education of the children concerned and does little good for the others either. The only thing that needs changing is the level of fixed penalties offered to parents who do take their children out of school without permission. At present it is £50 per child if paid within 28 days rising to £100 if paid between 29 and 42 days. It should be ten times those levels.
if its a toss up between missing out on some amazing family holidays - ones that can never be replaced, or missing 2 weeks of school work - that can be caught up with in their own time - and will have little affect on their lives in the long run, then the holiday wins hands down.

some of my best memories of childhood are on holidays - some kids get little enough quality time with their parents as it is, some things are more important than sitting in a classroom reading text books and listening to a teacher droning on.

it is ridiculous of the government to believe that they should control this.
Joko – a few “matters arising” from your comments:

(1) - Why cannot these amazing holidays be taken during the time the school sets aside for them?

(2) - Children do not “catch up in their own time.” They have to be coached by teachers separately and this reduces resources available for children who are good enough to attend throughout the term. Teaching in most subjects is “progressive”. That is, you cannot continue with the later parts of the syllabus until the earlier parts have been grasped. A fortnight out puts them on the back foot for weeks if not months and it is bad enough coping with children who have taken time off due to illness.

(3) - When children who do attend see children being taken out for a fortnight in Benidorm they see no difference between that and taken a week off to roam round the local shopping centre. And so they do. Teachers cannot possibly teach properly with pupils coming and going at will.

(4) - It is scarcely the schools’ fault that parents get “precious little quality time” with their offspring. Schools operate for a little over 50% of days in a year. This should be more than adequate.

(5) - It is by no means ridiculous for the government to expect they can control this. It's precisely what the 1944 and 1996 Education Acts are for.
The few parents who cant abide by the rules laid down for the benefit of all should take their kids out of school and educate them at home.
Quite so brightspark, which is one of the (very many) reasons we home educated our children. None of them appear to have been harmed by a flexible approach to education since most of them have managed University and or employment or a company of their own. Amazing how the sky falls allegedly if everyone doesn't comform to a few rules, the reality being that it simply doesn't.
new judge... i dont agree with your 'few matters'

the point i was making was that many cannot afford to go during school breaks - thats the whole problem - if they could then there would be no issue!

are you suggesting that if a child is away for a fortnight, all the teachers spend the next fortnight individually tutoring them, giving extra lessons - a fortnights worth? that is nonsense!
they would give the child the necessary coursework to do at home. it may mean they have to sit and chat for half an hour or so, about problems but then thats their job and they would do that with any child who had attended all lessons if they asked.
school lessons do not move so fast that a child cannot catch up... some lessons only occur once a week!
the only time 2 weeks of missed lessons may matter is when its exam time...any other time and it will not hurt the child at all.

i believe the life experiences gained by childhood holidays are more important, and it is worth the extra effort.

to say children play truant because they see another child go on holiday is ridiculous argument.

i did not say it was the schools fault they don't get enough quality time, but it is certainly their fault if they try to prevent it....
schools are there to teach kids, not rule theirs and teir parents lives.
Well done nox..if more parents were as successful as you then this country would be a better place:-)..however as the masses dont have much choice with regards to education they must respect the rules.
Thanks Brightspark, but the point I was actually making is that a flexible approach to education does no-one any harm, quite contrary to New Judge's rather alarmist and draconian opinions. In my own, Joko has it about dead right, there is certainly more to creating a worthwhile human being than rigid adherance to rules and constant education at the expense of experiences which will produce a well balanced, well rounded adult.
We all like to be flexible Nox..however we all know that limits will be tested until the system breaks and so we have to lay down rules.
Teaching your children at home is your privilege, NOX, and well done with that. However, the vast majority of parents are either unable or unwilling to do so.

So we come to “organised “ education. Secondary, and particularly primary school children cannot be expected to organise their tuition as if they were undertaking a degree course. Their syllabus needs structure, discipline and proper organisation. So, joko, you take your child out of school for a fortnight and the teachers have to spend time making good what they’ve missed. A few days after your holiday starts, another couple of children do the same. The following week another couple do so. Very soon you have an almost constant stream of children being “brought up to speed” and this impacts on all the class. It also gives other children the notion that disappearing for a couple of weeks is perfectly acceptable. I have to disagree profoundly with your contention that missing about 18% of lessons in a single term will have no effect. Many younger children have precious little motivation and receive minimal encouragement to learn as it is. To suggest they will work hard at home to catch up is fanciful in the extreme. It was be interesting to hear the views of some AB-ers who have connections with education.

Of course the cost of all this in invisible because it is lost in the general “noise” surrounding the education budget. But parents who pay for their children’s education can see this clearly. For parents paying around £6k per term (an average price for non-boarders) a fortnight’s education sets them back about a grand. You will find very few fee-paying schools which will authorise holidays in term time and even fewer parents wanting to take their children away. They are fully aware of the financial cost but are also aware of the adverse effect this has on their children and the others in their class. This has nothing to do with them being more able to afford holidays in school holiday time. Many parents paying to educate their children make huge sacrifices to afford the fees and among the sacrifices many of them make, ironically, are holidays.

I’m quite pleased the Education Secretary is planning to arrest the growth of this scandal. Whether he succeeds is debatable but the penalties will have to be far harsher than at present.
No Joko, it's not the teacher's job to spend time trying to catch up pupils who have been unnecessarily absent from school, there are enough genuine absences, illness etc. I used to spend ages providing work requested by parents taking their children out for an educational couple of weeks on the Costa Del Sol, only to be abused when I asked for the work on their return. As ever, parents want it both ways, they know their "rights", it's a pity they don't know their responsibilities, too many think their responsibilities stop on delivery of a baby.
This is getting good!
I have no qualms about taking my children out of school during term time to go on holiday. They are all doing well and are bright enough to catch up with any work missed. I wouldn't take them out of school at an important time (during GCSEs or A Levels).

My son's school is quite happy to let him miss lessons for sporting events, etc and for teachers to go on courses or school trips (meaning that he is 'deprived' of lessons) - surely if every lesson mattered that much then these events would be kept to a minimum? Maybe staff should go on professional development in their own time, after all, they get 13 weeks a year holiday (playing devil's advocate - as an ex-teacher I would have had heart failure if they expected me to go on a course in my holidays).
Back in the days when my daughter was younger it was impossible for my husband to get time off when the schools were on holiday. The way the system worked was the those in senior positions to him got first pick of the holiday allottment and they tended to hog all the popular weeks first leaving nothing during the breaks for the rest of staff, consequently until he left that company our holidays were always taken in term time. Thankfully the schools she attended were very good about this, and even set her homework to be done if we asked them. But the consensus was that travel did add to the child's education, and it wasn't too much of a problem, though we did try to choose times either just before the break up to minimise any disruption.
Sorry New Judge, you're just repeating yourself, adding nothing new to your previous argument, and Sherrard has just commented that she too thinks it's not a problem to take kids out of school and she's an ex teacher, so perhaps it's simply you that has such a bee in your bonnet about this topic?
I've nothing more really to add, NOX (though I think my lasy post did add a little more flesh). I'm simply glad the Education Secretary is beginning to see some sense by trying to reduce what has become a scandalous waste of taxpayers' hard-earned which is having a dreadful impact on children's education.
zebo...i did not say it was!
i said quite clearly that the the teacher does not spend the next 2 weeks tutoring the student.
i said they will provide the student with the necessary coursework to catch up and they only need to have the odd chat if need be

are you suggesting that if i had not had a day off, and asked the teacher at the end of class to explain something a bit better to me as i wasnt sure about it, they would refuse?

there is plenty of time to make up those 2 weeks... i think people forget just how much happens in a single lesson - it isnt tonnes of stuff.,,,and its all there to see in the books and notes.

the schools are there as a facility for kids to learn and it is up to the kids how much they choose to learn from it... and depriving them of the one bit of a holiday once a year is only going to breed resentment and unruly behaviour
i am damn sure if i had not been allowed to go on all those family holidays and had known it was down to the school, i most certainly would not have gone in there all smiling ready to learn...

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