Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bums on seats

That at least seem to be the latest education policy trend from the UK Government.

I will explain, if I may.

Apparently, there is now a new regulation (yep, another one - not one day of rest for our Whitehall valiant guardians of our children's welfare) that essentially forbids parents to take children away from school for, say, a holiday, outside school half-term breaks.

Now, that would be something to applaud were it applied with some grain of common sense: after all you don't want children wandering around or, God forbid, catching flights for holidays abroad left and right (by the way, what's all this fuss about flying? are you all falling prey to Labour's misinformation propaganda machine? I would have expected my readers to be more clued up... but I digress!) leaving teachers to cope with an ever-varying classrom attendance.

However, one would also expect that the policy were applied with some degree of common sense: in other words, if the child is achieving top grades, shows no signs of falling behind and is prepared to do some extra work before and after the week's absence in order to catch up with the others, well, maybe some allowance may be made.

fter all, isn't that what we all deal with either as managers or as staff? So it would be good to somehow responsibilise the kids early on: "If you want to take a week off, well, you may, but be prepared to work harder to compensate for that."

Well, not if you are dealing with our schools' headmasters: 'no' means 'no', and there are no derogations to the rule - no matter how sensible preparations one makes, how much planning effort the child puts into it: take your kid away for a week, and that will be regarded as "unauthorised absence."

(The amusing bit here - that seems however to completely escape to our erstwhile bureacrats - is that they even have a form to let you apply for extra holidays. You can certainly fill it in and submit, they'll just refuse it. Isn't that sublime?)

What the consequences may be, I do not know. Terrible, I suppose, and unerring: probably Social Services (that bright example of efficiency, competence and, above all, never missing a day at work) will be called in, the child may be put up for adoption, most likely parents will face fines, possibly jail sentences.

I don't know - I will find out when we come back from snowboarding :-)

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