Warning as children miss vital class time for holiday
PARENTS have been warned not to take their children out of school early to avail of cheaper summer holidays as "every day counts".
It is thought several thousand primary school pupils miss out on class time each June as their families take foreign holidays before prices shoot up during the official summer break. However, principals have said the recession appears to have led to a drop in such absenteeism as many families can no longer afford a sun holiday.
A recent survey in Britain found that more than four out of 10 parents are taking their children out of school during term-time in a bid to reduce the cost of sun holidays. Two-thirds of parents said they did so because they couldn't afford higher prices during the peak months of July and August.
Primary schools can be particularly hard hit by such absenteeism as they don't finish for the summer until late in June.
Michael Doyle, regional manager with the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), said parents have no excuse to remove their children early and it was not necessarily in the pupil's best interest to do so.
"Every single day counts and a child will find it extremely difficult to make up the time that is lost," he warned.
"The Department of Education has changed the academic year so that it's on a three-year cycle, so parents have plenty of notice."
Sean Cottrell, director of the Irish Primary Principals Network, described it as a "perennial" problem and said the answer may be to allow for more flexibility on the start and end dates of the school year.