Friday Truancy Surge: Blame Shifts to Parents Working from Home

Source: INDEPENDENT tv (UK Edition)

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan suggests that the surge in parents working from home due to the pandemic might contribute to a concerning increase in children’s absence from school, particularly on Fridays.

Incident Overview:

  • Unauthorised school absences have risen by 25 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with Fridays showing a 20 percent higher absence rate than Wednesdays, especially in primary schools.
  • Keegan attributes this rise partially to parents’ increased home-working arrangements, citing a notable increase in absence rates from 4.7 percent in 2019 to 7 percent this year, along with a rise in unauthorised holiday absences.
  • Keegan emphasises the importance of restoring regular school attendance as a top priority, warning against deliberate absences that deprive children of crucial learning opportunities.

While parents’ home-working arrangements may contribute to absenteeism, addressing the root causes requires a holistic approach that prioritises mental health support, special educational needs, and effective communication between schools and families. The government’s response must align with these realities to effectively tackle the absenteeism crisis and ensure all children have equal access to education.

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