Parents 'don't care if kids skip school', report suggests
Parents ‘don’t care if kids skip school’, report suggests – claiming pandemic lockdowns caused a ‘seismic shift’ in attitude to school attendance
- Lockdowns caused a ‘seismic shift’ in people’s attitude to school attendance
- Report comes amid concern about the rise in children missing school in England
Parents no longer believe their children must attend school every day since the pandemic, a report suggests.
Lockdowns have caused a ‘seismic shift’ in attitude to school attendance which will take a ‘monumental’ effort to change, according to consultancy Public First.
The study comes amid mounting concerns about the rise in children missing school in England.
It reads: ‘Pre-Covid, ensuring your child’s daily attendance at school was seen as a fundamental element of good parenting.
Post-Covid, parents no longer felt that to be the case, and instead view attending school as one of several options or demands on their child on a daily basis, against a backdrop of a more holistic approach to daily life.’
A rise in school absences on Fridays could be because parents are working from home, the children’s commission for England said today (file image)
The report, which highlights findings from focus groups, says ‘parents agreed that every school day could not possibly be that important, given so much time had been lost to lockdowns and strikes.
‘Moreover, there was a sense from parents that other elements of their lives were just as important as attending school, if not more so.’
More than a fifth (22.3 per cent) of pupils in England were ‘persistently absent’ – missing at least 10 per cent of school sessions – in the 2022/23 academic year, Government figures show.
The pre-Covid rate in 2018/19 was 10.9 per cent. The report calls for fines for absences to be reviewed and ‘potentially abolished’ as it suggests they fail to change parent behaviour and ‘undermine’ the relationships between schools and parents.
A mother of two primary school children from Manchester who took part in the study said: ‘Pre-Covid, I was very much about getting the kids into school. I don’t really care anymore. Life’s too short.’
And a mother of a 15-year-old from Bristol added: ‘We always took them skiing in February half term.
Now I look back and I think why on earth did I do that? Why didn’t I take them out for a cheap week in January?’
More than a fifth (22.3 per cent) of pupils in England were ‘persistently absent’ – missing at least 10 per cent of school sessions – in the 2022/23 academic year (file image)
A rise in mental health problems and the cost of living crisis are also among the factors in pupil absence, the report says. But it did not find any evidence that the rise in parents working from home has encouraged more children to stay off school.
The Department for Education said: ‘We have expanded our attendance hubs alongside wider support such as providing a tool kit for schools on communicating with parents. We have also brought together an attendance action alliance… to discuss the importance of the issue and its many factors.’
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