A SCHOOL is trying to tackle the problem of absenteeism and has called on its local MP to help.
Headteacher Lou Browning at Norbury School in Welldon Crescent, Harrow, says that due to the multi-cultural catchment area many parents take their children out of school during term time to travel overseas to see relatives and the school is being ‘penalised’ by school inspectors as a result.
Mr Browning said: “The majority of families have their extended family overseas and if the relatives are ill, they have to go, and it takes weeks rather than just a day or a few days.
“They also take holidays during term time because holidays are more expensive during school holidays.”
The headteacher invited Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, to a question and answer session on Friday, February 24, to address how to tackle pupils’ unauthorised absenteeism.
Mr Browning said: “We invited Gareth to talk to some of the parents and pupils about some of the challenges that having a rich, multi-cultural catchment area has in terms of attendance.
“Parents are 100 per cent behind the school but I have them sitting in my office in tears.
“Parents are torn, there’s no other word for it. I don’t think we are unique but the governing body felt it was taking up a lot of my time and decided to invite Gareth in.”
The MP also met the school council, known as Team Norbury, and the Parent Council For Learning, to discuss the issue.
Ms Browning said he has written to Ofsted about the issue because the school feels it is being ‘penalised’ during inspections due to absenteeism.