Star Darling

School Attendance Sham!

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Do you think there’s something to be said for education outside of the classroom, and certainly something to be said for the value of family time?

Do you hate your child's school and the state education department for making you feel ashamed of spending time with your children?

Restricting family holidays/ vacations to school holidays imposes an unfair financial burden on most families.

I understand that the teachers have to pre-plan a bit of work for student absences. But how much do they really miss and is it worth jeopardising a yearly family holiday for this extra bit of work to catch up on?

Most teachers do agree that family time is important, but absence due to holiday creates an extra burden on them as teachers. It takes some extra time to put together homework in advance and to decide what missed classwork should be adapted. Teachers feel that it takes away some of their ability to devote time and attention to other aspects of their jobs. 

What on earth did they do when I was at school before, it was never a problem then so why should it be now? In fact, children are so much brighter nowadays, surely two weeks a year isn't going to make that much difference? Definitely not enough to stop a family holiday!

Teachers are put under so much pressure nowadays to get the grades from the children so it all looks good for their school. My friend is a teacher and she admits that a week or two doesn't disrupt a child's future. I'm sure most children, even adults won't remember everything they have learnt over the years and will need to revise and refresh their brain closer to an exam.

During the final year, I agree that it's very important for children to attend, with so much preparation for an exam they need to be around to get the best possible results. Some children tend to get anxious or upset when they have missed some work and may have to work a little bit harder for a few weeks to catch back up. But was it worth it? I'm sure their answer would be Yes, after all, we only have one chance in life, so live it!

Schools are full of so many complications nowadays, children are being told they're not going to have a good quality of life if they don't do every little thing exactly right. Today's children are scared to death, and this is causing depression and anxiety. Left untreated, depression and other mental-health problems set a child up for a potentially long and difficult transition into adulthood. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents.  

The number of children with chronic illnesses and disabilities has quadrupled over the last 30 years. The growth of chronic illnesses is due to an alarming increase in childhood obesity, asthma, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), mental illnesses and other illnesses that are triggered by stress and anxiety. Genes often play a role in asthma, ADHA and obesity, but social and environmental changes are what's causing the increase. 

All these stresses and pressures put on the children cause lack of concentration due to cognitive load and presence of distractors, the complexity of the task, ability, perceived competence, and initial emotional state.

What makes me cross is that our poor children are being made to feel this much pressure whilst in their childhood! If I missed school for a few weeks a year It really didn't make any difference to me and didn't affect my exam results! Not all kids need to do all the work to get caught up so they can participate and feel comfortable in the classroom.

There were no laws or restrictions on family holidays when I was growing up and less pressure on children and teachers. I feel so lucky and grateful for all the travel experiences I gained whilst growing up, we would never have been able to afford these type of holidays had we have had to have paid full price during school holidays. Education is not just about paper and pen and classrooms it's about life experiences and exploration.





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If a pupil's attendance is very good and they're thriving at school it's unfair to stop them and their family taking a holiday they might not otherwise be able to go on. But what about the children that are just unlucky enough to have been absent from school due to illness. My son was never ill until he started school. With so much pressure on parents to ensure their child gets their attendance, parents are forced to send their children to school when they are still infectious, spreading germs to the teachers and other children. 

The winter is always grim as the windows are closed and warm classrooms harbour more germs than during the summer months. In the UK schools have less staff and more children, meaning they cannot keep a check on simple handwashing and remind children to wash their hands. I feel that my sons school absence due to illness has been down to these factors and it's so unfair as I can't control what happens when he's at school. The whole classroom and the teachers have all been absent for at least a week during the last two winter's, all with the same symptoms. I can only imagine that it is only going to get worse over the years unless society takes a more relaxed approach to these matters. 

My son has had to be absent from school for a week and a couple of days due to infections that he has picked up whilst in school. Due to his illness, this has affected his attendance levels so he wouldn't be allowed any more time off school. What message does that send to those youngsters who've missed school due to illness? It's not their fault they have been ill why should they be treated any different?

Here are the rules for school absence during term time in the UK and most countries:

  • You can only allow your child to miss school if they’re too ill to go in or you’ve got advance permission from the school.
  • The Local Government Association, whose members enforce these rules allow headteachers to take a common-sense approach to term-time holidays on a case-by-case basis, without parents being hit with an automatic fine.
  • You have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time. You can only do this if you make an application to the head teacher in advance and it may be granted if there are exceptional circumstances.
  • The law requires that parents ensure their children receive a full-time education.
  • Schools and the Education Authority (EA) have legal powers to deal with poor attendance.
  • Schools record pupils attendance and absence from school each day, recorded in the morning and afternoon.
  • If your child is absent, it is required that you tell the school the reason for the absence.
  • All school's are required to record pupils absence under certain categories determined by the Department of Education (DE). This data for each pupil is also sent to the Education Welfare Service (EWS). DE also receives annually the overall data for each school.
  • Every school in the UK has a link Education and Welfare Officer (EWO). EWO work to help pupils and parents by offering support and help, their aim is to reduce unnecessary absence from school. If a pupil's attendance drops below 85% then the school must make a referral to EWO. 


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What are your feelings on this matter?