Current School Holiday Allowance Is ‘Generous’ Says Council Chair

school 2 2014Amanda Martin says she believes the holiday allowance at the Five Islands School is “ample and generous” compared to many other places.

The Chair of Council made the comments during a discussion at the Children and Young People Committee into new legislation on school attendance, being introduced by the government.

The Council has to update its policies to take into account the changes, such as shorter times for parents to pay fines and withdrawing the ability of head teachers to authorise pupil’s absence during term time.

The Authority has chosen to introduce fines after 10 days of unauthorised absence.

Cllr David Pearson said holiday locations such as Scilly had to be aware that parents often work all summer and couldn’t take holidays then. He felt the school would be an ideal place to try a different pattern of term dates.

But Cllr Christine Savill pointed out that the two-week break in October was introduced to help parents who struggle to find time for holidays in the summer. And she said whenever this is reviewed, people always want to maintain the status quo.

Cllr Martin felt that time spent in school was “irreplaceable” and when children go missing from class for sustained periods, it can also affect their fellow classmates.

“Most people only get one shot at getting their education right,” she said.

Cllr Mollie Peacock was worried that absences by off-island children due to bad weather were counted in the figures. “Whether it’s the law or not,” she said, “these are things we can’t help.”

Performance Manager Keith Grossett said attendance figures at the Five Islands School were improving but there are still issues, particularly around medical appointments.

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