More than 23,000 school students are taken out of class for a family holiday each school term, new figures reveal.
Officials warn that while many parents believe holidays can be educational they can cause gaps in students’ learning that aren’t easily detected or filled.
Parents have been fined in the United Kingdom after a Government law change designed to stamp-out holidays during term time.
In New Zealand, the Ministry of Education’s Lisa Rodgers, deputy secretary early learning and student achievement, said absences from school should be avoided where at all possible.
“While holidays may provide valuable learning experiences, they can cause gaps in students’ understandings that are not easily detected.
“In the senior years, there is emerging evidence of substantial impact on students’ NCEA where school attendance is variable, even for cumulative one-day absences.”
Principals say both rich and poor families pull their children from school for travel, which has been termed “parent-condoned truancy”.
Sounds potentially bad. This holiday thing. 24,000 per term.
That sounds terrible, until you line that up with the fact that, on average, 30,000 “unjustified absences” are recorded per school day.
Stop beating up on parents that take their kids overseas for a week or two and let’s not get distracted from the fact that truancy is rife simply because – once again – it suffers the New Zealand Disease: lack of enforcement. Zero consequences for parents and caregivers means that the kids fall through the cracks. These are likely to be the same kids that will be a burden on the taxpayer along the way.
Let’s deal to truancy before it becomes a police matter, a court matter, a health matter and/or a social welfare matter.
Allan Vester, chairman of the NZ Secondary Principals Council and head of Edgewater College in Pakuranga, has previously told the Herald that about four families asked to take early holidays before each break, and principals could do little because families were clearly going no matter the response.
The Education Act requires students to attend each school day. But a principal may allow an absence for no more than five school days.
Boards of trustees can prosecute parents for their children’s non-attendance, but this is a last resort and only for serious cases.
The parents are clearly going because there is absolutely zero down-side to extending the middle finger to the school system.
– NZ Herald