Parents are reporting to us that children are being damaged and their futures put at risk by a perfect storm in education.
Elements of the storm, in no particular order:
- Increased pressure on “attainment”
- Increased pressure on attendance targets
- Increasing pupil numbers
- Growth in academies
- Lack of parental voice in school or national policymaking
- Narrowing national curriculum
- High teacher workload
- Funding cuts in real terms
- Cuts to Local Authority budgets
- Pressure on mental health services
Parents particularly report that this combination is leading to discrimination against and hardship for children with special educational needs, disability, medical conditions and causing real problems for families who are working hard to get by.
We appreciate and thank all the education and medical professionals and Local Authority Councillors and officers who struggle daily to do the best for our children in difficult circumstances.
However, we ask that those who pay more heed to targets than to our children examine their consciences and, where appropriate, are held to account.
We absolutely insist that the 2013 attendance regulations are repealed and that the State rolls back its intrusion into family life. The use & misuse of large scale statistical data is not the way to make decisions for individual children – that is the responsibility of parents who make decisions with a wider perspective than academic “attainment”.
This popular, cost-free measure will also remove a key element of the perfect storm.
For more information on attendance policy, please see our statement here.