12,500 Pupil Days Lost in Highland by Holidays in Term Time

Last year, there were 12,500 pupil days lost in Highland schools due to holidays taken in term time.

This has prompted Bruce Robertson, Director of Education Culture and Sport, The Highland Council, to write again to parents seeking their co-operation in reducing pupil absences from school.

Mr Robertson, who is President of the Association of Directors of Education, is also to engage with the travel and tourism industry over their pricing policy, which sees premium prices charged during school holidays.

Mr Robertson is disappointed that absenteeism in Highland schools continues to grow in Highland.  Holidays taken during term time were classified as unauthorised absences.

In a letter to parents, he writes: “Three years ago I wrote to parents in Highland seeking their co-operation in reducing pupil absences from school.  Specifically, I asked that pupils should not, if at all possible, be removed from school to attend family holidays.  Unfortunately, three years on, the numbers of unauthorised absences from schools has continued to rise, in part, due to families taking holidays during term time.

“It is recognised that some parents may, on occasion, find it impossible to plan a holiday in the 12 weeks allocated for this purpose, but a very worrying trend is emerging whereby more and more parents seem to be willing to withdraw their children from school despite the educational consequences.

“I would ask all parents to support their schools in raising standards of achievement and records of attendance by ensuring pupil absence in kept to a minimum.”

He said he was aware that parents found family holidays significantly cheaper outwith school holiday periods.

He said: “We need to engage with the travel industry to highlight the impact of their pricing regimes on our attendance records.”

7 Dec 2006
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