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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13680: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 5 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to tackle the reported increase in the number of term-time holidays taken by pupils, in light of the reported concerns that it is damaging their education.

Answered by: John Swinney 17 January 2018

The Scottish Government aims to promote good attendance at school. Our focus is to encourage parents and pupils to recognise the value of learning. Absence, whatever the cause, disrupts learning. It is for schools and education authorities to judge what sanctions, if any, they may wish to apply to unauthorised absence due to holidays. Local Authorities can issue attendance orders under section 38 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. Further sanctions can be imposed by the Sheriff should a parent not adhere to an attendance order.

The Scottish Government guidance, ‘Included Engaged and Involved Part 1: Attendance in Scottish Schools, is clear that term time holidays are unauthorised absences and schools are responsible for recording this. The Scottish Government will be reviewing and refreshing this guidance document in the coming months.