There are times when the stating the obvious becomes a necessity. The announcement by the Secretary of state for Education that taking a child out of school could reduce their schooling achievement will surely shock no one. Our schools are contracted to provide 195 days of schooling a year which is only 53 per cent of our year. Schooling is essentially providing the skills and values that should set a student for adult life. Even assuming a school has a great set of teachers any time off must have an impact on the final results of an errant student.
If the government were to announce a schooling cutback of 2.5 per cent, which equates to five days extra holiday, doubtless there would be uproar. Yet this is the minimum some parents have been taking their secondary school aged children out of school for additional or retimed holidays. The effect of the reduced educational input for the child of average ability is often starkly reflected in poorer GCSE results.
Taking the family holiday away from the peak school holiday period is a huge financial temptation. The recession has had a real effect on the disposable income of most households. On the surface this would seem adroit management but the reality of subsequent impaired exam results is a rude awakening. That week’s holiday could have a hugely lasting consequence. Although The government are attempting to police the illicit holiday periods through £60 fines on offending parents the fine in reality can be a very small part of the saving to be made from adjusting the holiday timing. The statistics now available reveal the effects of missing class are unarguable. Maybe parents should be made to sign a contract release form which states they agree their actions could measurably effect their child’s exam results.A similar form to be signed by the student.
If nothing else it would give credence to the child’s ultimate performance. It would serve as a credit note towards the schools performance targets and introduce the student to the concept that actions have consequences, something that will serve them well in adult life.