Laws: "Government’s truancy strategies are not working"

by Stephen Tall on August 27, 2009

Here’s a new one to add grist to I Hate Ryanair‘s mill – truancy rates are on the rise as more parents pull children out of school to take advantage of cheap holidays, reports the Telegraph:

Almost 68,000 pupils in England are missing classes every day, an increase of 7,000 compared with the same period last year, it was disclosed. The rise was fuelled by term-time holidays, suggesting more parents are looking for cut-price deals in the economic downturn. According to official figures, family breaks accounted for the largest number of school absences after illness.

David Laws, the Lib Dems’ shadow schools secretary, is swift to condemn:

The Government’s truancy strategies are not working. It is worrying that there has been a rise in the number of children missing school because of unauthorised holidays. Parents should not be removing their children from school without permission from their teachers.”

I guess he’s right, though I recall missing some days of school when I was young without any noticeable decline in my education. Mind you, my parents made me collect some work from my teachers to make up for my absence. As is usually the case, a caring and concerned home background was a better guarantee of educational standards than misplaced ‘presenteeism’.