Term Time Absence
Reducing Term Time Absence
We are in the middle of the half term holiday with the six weeks of summer rapidly approaching. On 1st September 2013 a law was passed, stating that head teachers will be unable to agree leave of absence during term time, unless they are satisfied that they qualify as exceptional circumstances. This is due to the fact many parents were taking their children out of school during term time for holidays.
During the school year 2011 to 2012 there were 1,153,770 pupil enrolments with at least one session of absence due to a family holiday. 831,320 of these pupil enrolments were agreed absences and 371,660 were absences that had not been agreed.
Now parents who take their children out of school during term time, without the school’s permission, will now be fined £60 if it is paid within 28 days. Evidently it has received serious backlash from many parents. Some feel they cannot afford to take their children on holiday in the normal holiday time, some parents think the idea is ridiculous and don’t care about the fine anyway.
Education is a Gift
England, like many other countries, has a free schooling system for all children. There is a stigma associated with going to school, if we didn’t have to, many of us would never have attended. Education is an opportunity and a gift. The education system was put in place so that the rich didn’t always have the upper hand, so that children whether extremely capable or not would have the same chances in education to prepare and help them for work later in life. School provides students with a wider range of knowledge, which they would not learn in everyday life. It also equips them with subjects and topics they may never have learnt, understood or even enjoyed. Thus providing them with something they can do later in life. Missing out on this education due to family holidays or other absence can lead to missed opportunities, if not now then certainly in the future.
Reducing Unauthorised Absence
Truancy Call from the Contact Group reduces unauthorised absences, improves punctuality and removes the burden of mass calling for office staff. It dynamically integrates with all the main Management Information Systems (MIS) by pulling the data from the register. The system has some considerable benefits, it sends automated phone calls, text messages or emails to those later or with an unauthorised absence, it also allows parents to respond by the same manner. Repeated calls are delivered until a response is provided which elicits a high number of parental responses.
The Key to Success
Look at children in Africa, they walk miles and miles every day just to attend a school in a different village because they want to learn, so they can do better for their families. England provides the same educational opportunities for every single child in the country, so why take your child out of school and affect their learning? It has been said that education is the key to success. However some people don’t actually care for that key. Various great people in our society didn’t go to school, but are still very intelligent and have done extremely well in business. Forcing students through a compulsory institution can create more stress and takes away from the time students could use, to build social relations or involve themselves with the arts or sport. That said, education is still compulsory and if holiday absences have been agreed it is important that students return to school promptly so that further study is not missed.
Managing Holiday Absence
Term Time Tracker is system that manages extended holiday absence for authorities. It helps to ensure that pupils return to school once their agreed leave has finished. All Holiday applications are passed from school to local authority and the details are entered onto the system. Parents are text messaged to remind them of the expected return date, further texts are sent if they don’t return to school advising them to contact the authority immediately.
Who should be making the decisions?
Children go to school from the age of 7 and finish at 16-18. How many people can say they could actually make a proper decision between the ages of 7-15, about their future? How many people wanted to be a superhero, or a fireman or a runner when they were young? How many people actually have the job now that they wanted in primary school? Leaving children to make decisions about their education can have serious implications, which is why we are doing all we can to develop the tools and apps schools, local authorities and parents need to put themselves back in charge.
To find out more about reducing absence in your school please speak to The Contact Group today on 03333 131415.
Blog post by Amelia Watson