Asian children missing for weeks

A CLAMPDOWN on Asian families taking children out of school for up to 10 weeks a year to visit relatives abroad is being planned in Bradford.

At one primary in the Yorkshire city almost half of the pupils (44 per cent) took more than two weeks off during term-time last year. Most were absent for more than four weeks. The average absence was more than 10 weeks, though the figure was skewed by a child off for 29 weeks.

Bradford's Education Policy Partnership, which advises the private company running council services to schools in the town, has raised concerns about the large numbers of pupils missing long stretches of school. The partnership is about to consult on plans which would mean extended leave of more than 10 days could only be taken in exceptional circumstances.

At present the council will agree to up to four weeks termtime leave.

Kay Lindley, head of Victoria primary, Keighley, Bradford - where 97 per cent of pupils are of Asian origin - has written letters, held meetings and produced a video to highlight the problem of prolonged absence.

She said the situation was not confined to one school and had been tolerated for too long.

"There is an issue of not wanting to question another community, so the problem is not tackled head on," she said. David Mallen, chairman of Bradford's EPP, said: "Of course grandparents want to see their grandchildren but the balance has shifted too far and pupils are missing huge chunks of their schooling."

Nawaz Khan, secretary of Bradford's Muslim Association, accepted some parents were taking their children away "willy-nilly" but added: "In many cases there are genuine reasons, such as death or sickness in the family."

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you