More UK Students Skip School for Family Holidays, Data Reveals

January 13, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. authorized / ˈɔ θəˌraɪzd / (adj.) – describing someone or something that is given authority or permission
Example: Only authorized people are allowed to speak during the program.

2. static / ˈstæt ɪk / (adj.) – showing no change
Example: Employment growth in the country has remained static since last year.

3. exceptional / ɪkˈsɛp ʃə nl / (adj.) – rare or uncommon
Example: Even though the rules do not allow it, she was allowed to leave because it was an exceptional reason.

4. immediate family / ɪˈmi di ɪt ˈfæm ə li / (n.) – all family members that a person is closest to by blood or marriage (e.g. one’s parents, siblings, spouse, etc).
Example: He had an intimate celebration with only his immediate family.

5. consent / kənˈsɛnt / (n.) – permission
Example: She did not join the trip because her parents did not give her their consent.


Read the text below.
The percentage of Britain students who skip school for family holidays has increased, according to the UK Department for Education (DfE).

According to data released by the DfE, 7.6%, or around one in thirteen students, missed at least half a day of class to go on holiday during the 2015-2016 academic year. The number increased from the 7.2% recorded during the previous academic year. The data included both authorized and unauthorized absences of students.

The number of students who missed school due to unauthorized family holidays increased to 400,490 this year, from last year’s 362,425. On the other hand, the percentage of students with authorized absences from school for family holidays has remained static at 1.2%.

In 2013, the UK government introduced new rules about leaving school to go on holiday while school is on-going. Under the new rules, head teachers can approve leave requests from parents only under exceptional circumstances. These circumstances include death or serious illness in the student’s immediate family. Permission will also be given to students with parents who cannot take a leave during school-free days.

Parents who would take their child out of school without consent will be fined £60. If not paid immediately, the fine will increase to £120. In some serious cases, parents may be fined £2,500, or receive a jail sentence of three months.

The new policy was not received well by some people. One parent who was fined for taking his daughter out of school for a family trip filed a case against his child’s school. He won the case, but his victory sparked criticism that schools were being lenient in imposing the rules.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is your opinion on fining parents for taking their children for holidays during school days?
·         Aside from fining parents, how can schools lower the rate of students that skip school during school days?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are acceptable reasons to miss school? Discuss.
·         How can children and parents make up for missed lessons while on holidays?

January 13, 2017