Warning about taking children out of school for holidays
PARENTS who take their children out of school to avail of cheap holidays risk damaging their long-term exam prospects, teachers have warned.
The number of Irish holidaying abroad is expected to increase sharply this summer as the economy continues to improve.
This means there will be greater temptation to take up cheaper family packages in June - before the official end of the primary school year.
Holiday prices differ substantially between off-peak and peak travel times. A couple with two children can save approximately €300 by booking a June holiday, compared with peak season in July and August.
However, Peter Mullan, a spokesman with the Irish National Teachers Organisation, warned that real damage can be done when children miss chunks of their early school life.
"A key indicator of education performance is attendance at school... So it's vital that parents maximise their child's attendance."
He said teachers were aware of the financial pressure on families.
"They can understand why parents might do it on a small number of occasions during a child's school career... But if a parent is doing it on a regular basis, then the schools would report such behaviour."
It is not illegal for parents to take their child out of school during term time. But if a child misses more than 20 school days in a year, the absence must be reported to the National Educational Welfare Board.