WFH Parents Accused of Fuelling Increase in Friday School Absences


Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, has voiced concern over a noticeable surge in children skipping school on Fridays, attributing the trend to parents who work from home.

Keegan highlighted a significant rise of 50,000 more pupils absent from schools towards the end of the week compared to Mondays, posing significant challenges for educational institutions. Parents are reportedly pulling their children out of classes for extended weekends and holidays, exacerbating the issue.

According to government data analysis, school absences on Fridays have increased by 20%, while unauthorized holiday absences have spiked by 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Keegan emphasized that boosting attendance is a paramount concern, especially with official figures indicating persistently higher absenteeism rates post-2020.

Acknowledging the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on school attendance, Keegan stressed the need to address the lingering issue of children with subpar attendance records. She aims to reinstate the social norm of daily attendance and firmly stated that it is unacceptable for parents to deliberately keep their children out of school.

Keegan’s directive extends to Covid-era practices, suggesting that children with minor ailments or mild anxiety should still attend school. Despite government efforts to curb absenteeism, rates remain at 7%, prompting Keegan to issue a warning against regarding school attendance as optional.

Detailed data analysis has enabled targeted interventions such as attendance hubs and mentors to support schools and parents. Keegan emphasized a support-first approach, coupled with increased fines for repeated absenteeism, underscoring the importance of every school day missed.

While some attribute the rise in absenteeism to parents working from home, others argue that broader factors such as mental health issues and socioeconomic challenges are primary drivers. Nevertheless, Keegan remains steadfast in her commitment to ensuring that every child receives the education they deserve, emphasizing the critical role of regular school attendance in shaping their future success.





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