Woodlands School in Essex has decided to offer parents the opportunity to take their children out of school for one week in July. But there’s a catch…
The trip/holiday must be ‘enriching’ for the child.
The school has dubbed this opportunity as “enrichment week” and is available to students in years 7,8 & 9. The plan is designed to reduce the number of unauthorised absences during term-time and enables parents to have a more affordable holiday.
Head teacher Simon Cox spoke to the HuffPost UK and said that the week (15-19 July 2019) was approved by the government this week.
Cox said, “We’re the fifth most deprived school in Essex and children are much less advantaged. We are finding our young people are not able to access cultural activities.
“Given the severe deprivation of our school, we had to try and do something affordable for our families so that when the children go to university or get an apprenticeship, they are able to talk about their opportunities.”
The school is ranked second highest in Essex for unauthorised absence, with a rate of 2.9%. They’ve made this an opportunity for all, though, because if parents don’t choose to take their child away for the enrichment week, a full schedule of enrichment activities will still be available at the school; children not going away are still expected to attend school as normal.
For any parents looking to opt in for the option of taking their child out of school, they are required to fill out an application form setting out how their child’s holiday away will be enriching. The form covers whether the trip will be spiritual, cultural, moral or social and what enriching activities they intend to complete and the children are also required to complete an educational booklet.
In the booklet, there are sections to fill in covering topics like English, Maths, Science, History & Geography. When they return to school, they will have the opportunity to show and tell about their trip.
“The reaction from parents has been overwhelmingly positive so far,” Cox added. “I’ve had emails from parents from other schools who have told me it’s refreshing to hear. It’s been great.”