Ofsted says too many pupils on holiday in term

editorial image

Parents taking their children on holiday during term time is to blame for high absences at one primary school, Ofsted has said.

The education watchdog said leaders and governors at Moorthorpe Primary needed to do more to persuade parents to keep their children in school. It said the school was among the worst 10 per cent of primaries in England for pupil absence.

In a letter to headteacher Pauline Pollard, following a short visit on March 8, Ofsted said: “Too many pupils are persistently absent. This is mainly due to parents taking them on holiday in term time.”

Inspector Bernard Campbell said there had been little improvement during the current school year.

He said: “Leaders and governors are not taking sufficient action to persuade and educate parents not to take their children on holiday in term time.”

Despite the absence, the school, on Regent Street, remained ‘good’ overall, a grade it was given in its previous full inspection in July 2014.

The letter said: “You [the headteacher], the staff and governors have established a welcoming school, popular in the local community, in which pupils behave well.” It added: “Parents say their children love coming to school and that staff support their learning and development well.”

The report praised progress of older children in Key Stage 2 .

But it said that in 2017, achievement in reading, writing and maths was in the lowest 10 per cent nationally at Key Stage 1 and children did not get off to a rapid enough start in the early years.

However, the inspector recognised the school was starting to make improvements.

The report said: “Staff are taking effective action to accelerate progress in nursery.”

It added: “At Key Stage 1 teachers’ good relationships, precise learning objectives and well structured activities are enabling pupils to make good progress in lessons.”