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Why I Have A Problem With Pupil Free Days

Posted Aug 23 2010 6:39pm

by Les Scammell - editor Just 4 Families.

Is it just me, or are our children having more and more time off school every year. This Friday is a pupil free day at our kids school - about the fourth for the year now. I sat down last night and worked out that, on average, most kids spend around 16 weeks away from school each year. In Australia we have the following time away from school:

  • School Holidays - around 12 weeks each year
  • Public Holidays - another five days (or one week)
  • Sick Days - an average of 5-10 days each year (or one to two weeks)
  • Pupil Free Days - around five each year (or one week)

That's a total of 16 weeks of non attendance at school. So why do teachers need that day off from school. Apparently it's for training and administrative work. Surely, given there are 12 weeks of school holidays each year, and teachers are only entitled to four or five weeks annual leave, there is plenty of time for their training and administrative work.

What would happen if that principle entered all work places? Consider the following:

  • Supermarkets declared that one day every three months was to be a customer free day. Workers would attend, but customers were not welcome?
  • Doctors and nurses declared that one day every three months was to be a patient free day. All in-patients were to be sent home for the day and no new patients accepted - even emergencies?
  • Police declared a crime free day one every three months. Police would not attend to any criminal matters on that day - only administrative work or training?

I could add ambulance and fire services to that list, but I think you get the picture. I know I have gone to extremes, but when we are in a situation where employers are claiming that young people are entering the workplace with inadequate numeracy and literacy skills, perhaps rather than spending more time away from school, our kids need to spend more time at school.

Just a thought - my gripe for the week. What are your thoughts?

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