I write to you because I feel that I have to in support of the Ms Queally’s article about the schools absence letter on the front page and page 3 of last week’s Gazette.
The reason these days for children to be off school legitimately is due to being sent into school unwell and spreading the illnesses around so everyone becomes ill. In other words, you have to be in it to prove it – unfair, unnecessary and not required. These policies scare the parents because none of us want to be prosecuted for our children being legitimately being unwell.
Regarding last week’s article, had Mia’s attendance level been 80 per cent I would be making enquiries as to why she was not attending. But 95.5 per cent? Come on, use a bit of common sense.
To be writing letters to parents, using officers’ time for the sake of such a low percentage is costing how much? Concentrate on those children that do not attend school regularly and on their families, refine your resources and stop wasting money on unnecessary letter writing and causing unnecessary anxieties.
However, on another point, it was recently announced that parents have paid more than £250,000 in fines for taking their children on holiday during term time. I just wonder when the Government, Ofsted and the education office will look at trying to support families financially on lower incomes so they can go on holiday out of school term rather than penalising them.
Is it not time that the Government made these holiday/ travel companies reduce their extortionate rates, in some cases trebling the costs all due to greed, for having a holiday in July, August and September, and by doing so pushing the costs out of reach for a lot of families but then really insulting them by offering the same service earlier in the year or later in some cases for a massively substantially lesser amount?
If the Government did this there would not be such a need to take a child out of school in term time and there would be no need for the above mentioned fine.
Cllr Ian Buckland
Littlehampton Town Council,
Arun District Council,
West Sussex County Council,
The Blatchen, Littlehampton
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