A new report shows parents of primary school children in Jersey are much more likely to take their children out of school for authorised family holidays than they are in England.
Commissioned by the Education Department, the Pupil Attendance and Absence Report shows that overall, the main reasons for absence from school are illness (60%) and family holidays (14.2%), and unauthorised absence is much lower in Jersey than in England, where it is three times higher.
But the number of primary school children taking agreed time off for family holidays bucks that trend as this table shows, with a Jersey primary school child seven times more likely to take time off for an agreed family holiday than a child in England:
The report notes:
"Table 5 shows that the rate of authorised absence in Jersey primary schools (4.1%) was higher than in England (3.1%) in the latest year, due predominantly to percentage of sessions missed due to agreed family holidays: in Jersey 0.7 per cent of all available sessions are missed due to authorised family holidays compared to 0.1 per cent of all available sessions in England.
"In contrast, the unauthorised absence rate in primary schools in Jersey (0.3%) was lower than in England (0.9%), due predominantly to the percentage of sessions missed due to ‘other’ unauthorised absence and unauthorised family holidays."
Family holidays that had not been agreed by a teacher or school authority were marginally lower than in England in primary schools, accounting for 0.2% of all absences compared with 0.4 in England, but the rates for secondary school were the same at 0.2%.
The news comes following a warning from the States of Jersey Education Department, who said that they “do not condone leave during term-time” and that head teachers will only authorise leave “in exceptional circumstances."
“Every child in Jersey has a right under the law to go to school, and it is their parents’ legal duty to ensure they attend,” a spokesperson said.
The report showed that attendance had improved overall during the past eight years, remaining steady at 94.6%. Unauthorised absences were also far less frequent than in England, where the rate is three times higher.
Attendance was highest amongst Year Six pupils at 96.2%, while Year 11 had the lowest at 89.4% due to their summertime ‘study leave’ break prior to GCSEs.
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