YEP Says, January 16: Why being absent without leave is unacceptable

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the FACT that truancy rates in Yorkshire rank amongst the worst in the country provides the context to today’s revelations about term-time holidays – and how councils across the region are adopting different stances.

Cities like Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Doncaster have each issued more than 3,000 fines as part of a wider clampdown on non-attendance, though there have just been eight such occasions in York.

The scale of these inconsistencies shows just how difficult it is to reconcile this issue. Given that there is a fundamental difference between persistent truanting and very occasional absences, such matters should be left to the discretion of the headteachers concerned – they know the children in question and should be trusted to implement rules sensitively.

Heads should also be able to sanction term-time holidays in exceptional circumstances. This might be the only time that a family can afford a few precious days away because of financial hardship. But the onus should be on parents taking personal responsibility for ensuring that their children keep up with their studies.

Above all, though, a child’s education is non-negotiable. Over leniency plays straight into to the hands of those truants who are jeopardising their future prospects because of their non-attendance.

On this, there must be no room for doubt – these pupils need identifying at the outset, and their parents held to account, before it is too late.

Celebrating the Yorkshire rose

No one could forget the stunning, cascading poppies of the ‘Blood Swept Lands’ installation at the Tower of London. Nor, indeed, the sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads in the recent smaller-scale exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Now we’re being asked to imagine similar made out of Yorkshire white roses (see our story on page three) .

What a feast for Tyke eyes, that’ll be.

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