Tag Archives: attendance policies

To Teach Up Until the Last Minute… or Not?

I have a question for you ~ should you continue to teach right up until the end of the last day of term or is it acceptable to play games, watch videos, complete word searches, etc?

The reason I ask this question is that the primary school my children go to has recently amended their holiday policy. The change was ‘supported’ by several facts and figures about how ‘many lost of hours of learning’ will negatively impact on my child’s learning if they’re taken out of school.

One of the facts provided:

“A child absent from school for two weeks each year means that the child misses the equivalent of two terms of education over their school life”

Now I’m not sure if the ‘2 terms’ relates to holidays taken every year from Reception through to the end of Year 13 or not but the fact remains that every night this week when I have asked my children (Y3 and Y6) what they have done in school the answers have ranged from ‘watched the Flushed Away dvd’ through to ‘played board games’. There appears to have been very little actual learning taking place at all in lessons and this has been ALL week. So this raises several questions:

  • why do the ‘facts’ focus on what learning my child may miss when I take them on holiday  ~ what about the amount of learning lost through ‘fun end of term activities’, staff illness, shows and other school-based events?
  • when I have taken my children out of school for a holiday (only once as I’m a Science teacher so I’m usually working!) I asked for work for my children to do (yes I am that mean) but didn’t get any work provided by staff to cover the absence? But if learning is so important and so why wasn’t it provided?

Usually I blog about changes in education, sharing teaching resources, elearning, etc ~ so why have I written about this today? The main reason is that I am a teacher and I have been teaching this week, ALL week to ALL of my classes. Due to the number of ‘guided learning hours’ I’m allocated to teach my course, I need all the lessons I can get. That’s not to say that we don’t watch video clips, create board games or make models ~ we do and they’re linked to learning. If I was to use the few lessons I have during the last week of term for other activities, it could be deemed that I don’t need them and who knows next year I could find I have reduced hours to teach the course.

I know it’s been a long tiring year and everyone is counting down to the summer break, but imagine the impression parents are getting ~ being told on the one hand that they will be fined for taking their child on holiday and on the other hearing about all the videos, games and fun taking place in the last week of term! Would a compromise be that if parents want to take holidays outside of the summer holidays, they could use the last week of term instead? 🙂

Read the TES article by Tom Bennett ‘Behaviour: Managing the last few days of term’ by clicking here

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