Some things about schooling just do not add up

April 7, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , UK


Hazel Speed

Having listened to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding Mr Jon Platt’s struggles over his refusal to pay a fine for his daughter’s absence from school (to enable a holiday of significance), then hearing his outline of the legal stages he had gone through en route to today’s decision announced by Lady Hale, I think this whole story is ludicrous.

Rather than criticising Mr Platt they should be praising the fact that his daughter had a high attendance rate at school and was being rewarded with a remarkable holiday, which itself could be considered educational in geographical and cultural terms – subsumed within a period of ‘quality time’.

Mr Platt’s eloquent explanation of legal laws that were his guide but that now, apparently, are superseded (or wiped out) with today’s decision, speaks for itself and proves more than ever that certain legal systems are beyond common sense and wandering into the field of control on liberty.

The ‘big brother’ elements are most worrying in that only an individual school can determine if a child should have a day off school if unwell or upset, not the parent. It is bad enough these days to get a GP out to a person’s home so would a child’s head teacher go to a student’s home to assess validity of absence, or are they psychic?

Fining parents, despite a child’s high attendance rates at school, is ridiculous and if anything, would generate disinterest of that same child’s mind, even if their body is present in class. This will cause huge resentment and seems totally wrong.

Another parent being interviewed said they would willingly pay a fine if it was cheaper than the fare of a holiday out of school time, i.e. during summer break – as travelling then costs much more due to air fares being specifically increased by some airlines/tour companies.

The point was also made that children attending private schools are not subjected to this type of regime nor, for that matter, are children who are taught at home. I have written previously on this subject. Also, they do not have to be at school (or schooled) for so many hours in a day.

I thought going to school in my day and age was like conscription – I walked out one time, falsely thinking I could ‘quit’ (no wonder, given the number I attended, as my Parents’ vocation required regular change of location), but at least in those days parents had the final say about such things like holidays during term time, as schools realised that a parent would notify the teacher, and give a good reason for the child’s absence – but more often than not, no reason was required as ‘trust’ was inferred.

Now, apparently, death is given as the key legitimate reason for absence. That reasoning in itself may damage the mindset of a child.

I recall one of my form teachers congratulating me when I returned from absence because I was the only one in class who was answering the questions correctly, (I was refreshed by the break from school), thus causing him to remark…’your work has improved, you should stay away more often!’










Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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