Ticking-off over school holidays

STEVE DOWNES Parents have been given a stern telling-off by a government inspector for taking their children out of school during term time - in a letter written to their offspring.

STEVE DOWNES

Parents have been given a stern telling-off by a government inspector for taking their children out of school during term time - in a letter written to their offspring.

The letter to pupils is one of the features of a new "light touch" Ofsted regime introduced six months ago across England.

In it Anthony Knight, who led the visit to Hethersett High School, near Norwich, told pupils they were at a "good school" and that they had a "key role in helping to make it even better".

But he commented sharply about attendance at the school, which was graded "satisfactory", one of just three of 26 areas ranked below good or outstanding in the report.

He said: "Most of you work hard and do well but it is a pity that some of you still do not realise that every time you miss school it becomes more difficult to show what you can really achieve.

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"It is important that your parents understand that they should not take you on holiday during term time."

The new regime, which has ushered in shorter, sharper inspections and reports, also includes a questionnaire to parents, asking what they think of the school. Mr Knight's letter to the students went on: "We were sorry that some of your parents have concerns about the school and would like you to reassure them that the school is addressing these concerns.

"We have asked the school to find ways to make sure that parents feel that the school has taken their concerns seriously and tried to resolve them wherever possible."

Overall, the report was extremely positive, and said: "Students make an outstanding contribution to the life of the school and the local community."

Inspectors were impressed with the way members of the school council took charge of initiatives such as a Fairtrade stall. They have also devised a student listeners' scheme where year 11 students, after training, support younger students.

Overall, inspectors rated the school as "good". They noted that attainment was above the national average, student behaviour was good, students achieved well in lessons and made good progress.