‘Missed weeks leave a gap in knowledge’

Herald Series: Sue Croft Sue Croft

SCHOOLS in Oxfordshire need to crack down on parents taking their children on term-time holidays if they want to improve results, it was warned last night.

Teachers in the county let more children off school to go on holidays than their counterparts elsewhere.

Oxford Spires Academy headteacher Sue Croft said she believed it was particularly important given Oxfordshire’s poor performance educationally.

Absence figures from the Department for Education relating to the spring term 2012 showed 25,525 half- day sessions were marked as authorised absence in county primaries for children to go on term-time holiday, and a further 7,251 in secondary schools.

That’s out of 39,890 primary and 30,730 secondary pupils.

Mrs Croft said: “There is very clear research about the correlation between attendance and grades. I think it’s one of the key factors.

“It’s absolutely crucial to success and I think it’s important in all years, not just Year 11 when they have got exams because if a child misses a week, they have a gap in their knowledge.”

She said research suggested missing 17 days in a year meant dropping one GCSE grade.

Authorised term-time holidays amounted to 11.5 per cent of all absence in primaries and 3.2 per cent of secondary absence.

That is above the national average, where agreed family holiday amounts to 7.2 per cent of all primary absence and 2.3 per cent in secondary schools.

Mrs Croft has not authorised a single holiday since the school replaced Oxford School in January 2011.

She said the only circumstances in which she would do so was where parents had a letter from their employer saying it was not possible to take leave during school holidays.

The most recent absence figures from Oxford Spires, from January 2011 to July 2012, show two per cent of sessions missed due to unauthorised absence and 3.6 per cent authorised, compared with two per cent unauthorised and 7.7 per cent authorised at its predecessor school, Oxford School, from March 2010 to December 2010.

The unauthorised absence rate for Oxfordshire for spring 2012 is 0.7 per cent compared with one per cent nationally.

Susie Bagnall, headteacher at St Ebbe’s Primary School, Oxford, said: “We don’t encourage parents to take term-time holidays and we do make it clear that children will miss out in their education.

“All you can do is point out the disadvantages for children, particularly if they miss the very first few days of school or the very last days, where not only are they missing learning but socially they are missing out considerably.”

The Government says absence should be for exceptional reasons but it is down to individual schools to decide when to give holidays the go-ahead.

Taking them away in holiday time is just so expensive

Single mum-of-four Kirsty Rose, is in the process of applying to take her two school-age children, Aiden, six, and Rylie, four, out of Bloxham Primary School for a week next month.

She said: “Taking them away in holiday time is just so expensive, it’s just ridiculous.”

In Aiden's first year she took him on holiday for a week at a Haven Park during term-time at a cost of £150. During the summer holidays it would cost her £750.

Although she is going down the official route, Miss Rose, who lives in Bloxham and is a full-time mother, said even if permission was refused, she would still take her children to Weymouth next month.

She said: “I’m going anyway, it’s booked.”

 

Comments (8)

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9:42am Tue 11 Sep 12

RoHind says...

And the OM story following this one is teachers are planning to strike! Irony or what!
And the OM story following this one is teachers are planning to strike! Irony or what! RoHind
  • Score: 4

10:14am Tue 11 Sep 12

Kidlington Dave says...

By those statistics, the average child in Oxfordshire misses a whopping half of a half day session per term. Hardly an epidemic of absenteeism, is it? Plus, I'd guess many of those missed sessions were at the end of a term where holiday flights didn't coincide with school holiday dates, and from experience, kids do relatively little acedemic learning in those last few days of term. As the case study at the end shows, holiday companies hike up prices massively during holidays weeks, so it's no wonder parents want to go when it's significantly cheaper. All head teachers need to do is consider a child's overall attendance rate and their academic progress before allowing or refusing leave; that's what they do at my kids' school.
By those statistics, the average child in Oxfordshire misses a whopping half of a half day session per term. Hardly an epidemic of absenteeism, is it? Plus, I'd guess many of those missed sessions were at the end of a term where holiday flights didn't coincide with school holiday dates, and from experience, kids do relatively little acedemic learning in those last few days of term. As the case study at the end shows, holiday companies hike up prices massively during holidays weeks, so it's no wonder parents want to go when it's significantly cheaper. All head teachers need to do is consider a child's overall attendance rate and their academic progress before allowing or refusing leave; that's what they do at my kids' school. Kidlington Dave
  • Score: 3

2:45pm Tue 11 Sep 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

So, my company closes for two weeks in the middle of September and I have to have that time off. That is when we have a family holiday, what do they suggest that I go on my own??? Yet teachers can go on strike, have inset days straight after half term and that has no effect????
So, my company closes for two weeks in the middle of September and I have to have that time off. That is when we have a family holiday, what do they suggest that I go on my own??? Yet teachers can go on strike, have inset days straight after half term and that has no effect???? Bartsimpson_uk
  • Score: -28

4:22pm Tue 11 Sep 12

educationisimportant says...

The disruption to lessons and other students' learning is unforgiveable. Parents who take children out of school during term time are selfish and clealy do not see the bigger picture. Parents who collude with their children in being away from school, or take holidays in term time need to take responsibility for their child's underachievement and they should be fined.
The disruption to lessons and other students' learning is unforgiveable. Parents who take children out of school during term time are selfish and clealy do not see the bigger picture. Parents who collude with their children in being away from school, or take holidays in term time need to take responsibility for their child's underachievement and they should be fined. educationisimportant
  • Score: -3

4:27pm Tue 11 Sep 12

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

Bartsimpson_uk is quite correct.
Many parents do not have a choice as to when they take their holiday. My father worked for a small building firm with about 12 employees. It closed down completely for a week (this was years ago when holidays with pay were much less than now.) The boss conducted a vote with his workers in January as to when the close down week would take place and this invariably was decided as the last week of June. Our family had a week away in a caravan at Weymouth but my grammar school gave a pile of holiday homework to take away. In the Easter term prior to GCE exams I had to go into school on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the 3 week Easter holiday for 2 hours 10.00 to 12.00 for special revision lessons. I cannot see that happening now.
Bartsimpson_uk is quite correct. Many parents do not have a choice as to when they take their holiday. My father worked for a small building firm with about 12 employees. It closed down completely for a week (this was years ago when holidays with pay were much less than now.) The boss conducted a vote with his workers in January as to when the close down week would take place and this invariably was decided as the last week of June. Our family had a week away in a caravan at Weymouth but my grammar school gave a pile of holiday homework to take away. In the Easter term prior to GCE exams I had to go into school on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the 3 week Easter holiday for 2 hours 10.00 to 12.00 for special revision lessons. I cannot see that happening now. West Oxon Webwatcher
  • Score: -6

5:36pm Tue 11 Sep 12

Feelingsmatter says...

I never take my children away during term time because common sense dictates that if they miss lessons they won't do so well. What also needs to be looked at, however, is how little effort schools go to in order to help those who have been ill. With most people having access to the web it wouldn't take a huge amount of effort for staff to post their lesson plans/power-point presentations in a password protected area accessible to their students. It's like pulling teeth to get any work emailed home after a child has returned to school following illness, and if they are long-term ill you have no chance. I ended up spending a small fortune on text-books and wasted hours googling syllabuses because I didn't know where to start. One or two links on the school website with info such as the exam board would have saved me a huge amount of stress, but suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.
I never take my children away during term time because common sense dictates that if they miss lessons they won't do so well. What also needs to be looked at, however, is how little effort schools go to in order to help those who have been ill. With most people having access to the web it wouldn't take a huge amount of effort for staff to post their lesson plans/power-point presentations in a password protected area accessible to their students. It's like pulling teeth to get any work emailed home after a child has returned to school following illness, and if they are long-term ill you have no chance. I ended up spending a small fortune on text-books and wasted hours googling syllabuses because I didn't know where to start. One or two links on the school website with info such as the exam board would have saved me a huge amount of stress, but suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. Feelingsmatter
  • Score: -1

4:26pm Thu 13 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Feelingsmatter wrote:
I never take my children away during term time because common sense dictates that if they miss lessons they won't do so well. What also needs to be looked at, however, is how little effort schools go to in order to help those who have been ill. With most people having access to the web it wouldn't take a huge amount of effort for staff to post their lesson plans/power-point presentations in a password protected area accessible to their students. It's like pulling teeth to get any work emailed home after a child has returned to school following illness, and if they are long-term ill you have no chance. I ended up spending a small fortune on text-books and wasted hours googling syllabuses because I didn't know where to start. One or two links on the school website with info such as the exam board would have saved me a huge amount of stress, but suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.
Have your children so as well as my neighbours, and how do you know that they will not do as well if they miss a few lessons? Answer please.
[quote][p][bold]Feelingsmatter[/bold] wrote: I never take my children away during term time because common sense dictates that if they miss lessons they won't do so well. What also needs to be looked at, however, is how little effort schools go to in order to help those who have been ill. With most people having access to the web it wouldn't take a huge amount of effort for staff to post their lesson plans/power-point presentations in a password protected area accessible to their students. It's like pulling teeth to get any work emailed home after a child has returned to school following illness, and if they are long-term ill you have no chance. I ended up spending a small fortune on text-books and wasted hours googling syllabuses because I didn't know where to start. One or two links on the school website with info such as the exam board would have saved me a huge amount of stress, but suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.[/p][/quote]Have your children so as well as my neighbours, and how do you know that they will not do as well if they miss a few lessons? Answer please. ger elttil OX2 0EJ
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Thu 13 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

educationisimportant wrote:
The disruption to lessons and other students' learning is unforgiveable. Parents who take children out of school during term time are selfish and clealy do not see the bigger picture. Parents who collude with their children in being away from school, or take holidays in term time need to take responsibility for their child's underachievement and they should be fined.
How does a child being out of class disrupt others??????????. My neighbours kids have OVERACHIEVED would you not think. Answer please, although I do not expect one, as I do not believe your post or username.
[quote][p][bold]educationisimportant[/bold] wrote: The disruption to lessons and other students' learning is unforgiveable. Parents who take children out of school during term time are selfish and clealy do not see the bigger picture. Parents who collude with their children in being away from school, or take holidays in term time need to take responsibility for their child's underachievement and they should be fined.[/p][/quote]How does a child being out of class disrupt others??????????. My neighbours kids have OVERACHIEVED would you not think. Answer please, although I do not expect one, as I do not believe your post or username. ger elttil OX2 0EJ
  • Score: 0

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