Holiday pupils bring back skills

16th January 2004 at 00:00
We are told that there may be pound;100 truancy fines for pupils missing term-time teaching for the sake of a holiday. Major reasons cited for the fines are that pupils miss vital classes, hold back the class when they return and truancy levels harm the school in league tables.

Are we perhaps missing the point that transferable skills are honed on such a holiday:

* catching up after missed classes by communicating with those pupils left behind including considerable diplomatic skills to obtain co-operation in this task;

* verbal skills in relating tales of holiday experiences to peers, thus raising morale for school work;

* a fresh approach to study on returning from a break;

* remaining pupils would benefit from a smaller class with a more effective teacher minus the rather unfocused pupils that might take such holidays.

These and other skills may well outweigh the negative points.

However, should this target-obsessed Government persist with these plans, maybe there is a job here for us retired teachers as holiday marshals. We could go away in term time and spy on those flouting the system. The fines would finance the scheme and retired teachers could take a little sun, expenses paid.

Bob Lee

24 Green Lane Close

Byfleet, Surrey

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