Today’s education news review looks at issues that appeared in the media today including an Oral Statement made by the Schools Minister on parents taking their children out of school during term time and the release of the latest school absence statistics.
Term time holidays and absence statistics
On Thursday 19 May the Schools Minister gave an Oral Statement in the House about the Government’s rules around term time holidays.
There was widespread but non-prominent coverage across print media of the Schools Minister’s comments. During the debate Mr Gibb pledged to do everything in his power to stop children being taken out of school during term time.
Much of the coverage was conflated with the publication on the same day of the latest pupil absence figures, which show the overall absence rate across state-funded primary and secondary schools has decreased from 4.4 per cent in autumn 2014 to 4.1 per cent in autumn 2015. Overall absence rates have followed a general downward trend since autumn 2008, when the overall absence rate was 6.4 per cent.
Our response on term time holidays:
We are disappointed with the High Court judgment.
The evidence is clear that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chance of gaining good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances.
We are confident our policy to reduce school absence is clear and correct.
We will examine the judgement in detail but are clear that children’s attendance at school is non-negotiable so we will now look at whether to change the legislation. We also plan to strengthen statutory guidance to schools and local authorities.
In response to the latest pupil absence statistics, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
School attendance is non-negotiable and since 2010 we have introduced a range of reforms to crack down on persistent absence and ensure more children are in school.
Those reforms are working. Last year there were 200,000 fewer pupils persistently missing school than in 2010, persistent absence rates have almost halved to historic lows in the same period and the number of days missed due to family holidays across the first five half terms of the school year has dropped by 2.7 million since 2009/10.
Today's figures show that this trend is continuing with year on year falls in persistent absence during the autumn term.
With 1.4million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and evidence showing every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chance of gaining good GCSEs, it is vital we ensure that every child is in school.
We make no apology for wanting to see every child in the classroom and will continue to back our school leaders to crack down on persistent absence.
The latest pupil absence statistics can be found here.