Concern over pupil holidays in term time

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Almost 600 schoolchildren in South Holland missed lessons for three weeks or more during the 2010/11 academic year, a new report claims.

More than 260 primary school pupils and almost 330 secondary school students had leave for at least 15 per cent of the school year between September 2010 and May 2011 according to the report published by county education officials.

The report, Every Day Matters – An Attendance Strategy, also showed that 74 per cent of primary schools and 50 per cent of secondary schools in South Holland had persistent absence, defined as 15 per cent or more absence in a term, above the national average.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee discussed the report’s findings at a meeting last Friday in a bid to cut the number of authorised absences from school.

The most common cause of absence across the county was illness, but almost ten per cent of schoolchildren missed lessons through family holidays.

Committee chairman Councillor Steve Williams said: “Pupil attendance at primary schools has been the main problem over the last few years and it’s the committee’s opinion that the early years of learning are the most important for a child.”