IN A completely predictable development since the lockdown shambles, term-time holidays are now ‘entirely socially acceptable’ after Covid, parents have said in a study.
The Daily Mail quoted a report which said that ‘parents no longer believe their children need to be in school full time, increasingly think “life’s too short” not to have a term-time holiday and are “not bothered” about fines’.
Lockdowns have caused a ‘seismic shift’ in parents’ attitudes to school attendance, according to the consultancy Public First. Now it is ‘socially acceptable’ to keep pupils at home and to go on holiday in term time.
Who can blame them? The government can hardly keep a straight face when on one hand they shut down schools for months on end, an act of cruelty and criminal negligence because of The Covid, and then on the other hand say schools are so important pupils can’t miss even a day. No one should take them seriously any more on pretty much anything.
In addition, more than a fifth (22.3 per cent) of pupils in England were ‘persistently absent’ – meaning they missed at least 10 per cent of their school sessions – in the 2022/23 academic year, government figures show.
This is significantly higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 10.9 per cent in 2018/19.
I have every sympathy with parents who take children out of school during term time, if only to avoid the hold-up that is the price of half-term holidays. However, I have never done so myself, nor do I think I will, as I believe ultimately it still sends the message to children that school is optional.
I’m not sure giving the message ‘if you don’t really fancy doing something in life, don’t bother doing it’ is the one I want to impart to my kids. Ultimately it probably undermines your authority and that of schools and teachers, which when all said and done, should still retain parental support.
However, it doesn’t surprise me at all if plenty of other parents believe otherwise.