We talk about ‘resilience’ as one of our core values, the ability to keep going when things are tough. In the immediate aftermath of the horrific Grenfell Tower disaster I came across this tweet: “Girls from my 13yo’s school who lived in #GrenfellTower lost everything and still turned up for GCSEs next day in night clothes”. That’s resilience for you. Who can begin to imagine what those schoolchildren went through the night before, but nothing could stop them taking their exams. Their inspiring attitude shows the value that those young people attached to education.

And value it they should. Education has the potential to open up the life chances of our young people. Qualifications are key when it comes to students realising their ambitions, whether that’s their dream job, an apprenticeship, a college course or attending a top flight university.

It’s a proven fact that absence from school has a detrimental effect on students’ outcomes. Here at Matravers we aim to offer world class teaching and learning, but students will only benefit from it if they come to school day in and day out and are not absent unless absolutely necessary.

In terms of the national figures, the main reason for absence is illness. Of course, you can’t send a seriously ill child to school, but in life sometimes you just have to soldier on even when you are not feeling 100% due to a cold, or other common ailments.

Nationally there is a growing trend of absence due to family holidays during term time. Some parents have been emboldened by the case of John Platt. Mr Platt successfully challenged a £60 fine levied against him for taking his daughter out of school for a trip to Disney World in April 2015. The council appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided to uphold the fine. The court ruled,

Unauthorised absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the education of the individual child but also on the work of other students.

If one student can be taken out whenever it suits the parent, then so can others... Any educational system expects people to keep the rules. Not to do so is unfair to those obedient parents who do keep the rules, whatever the costs or inconvenience to themselves.

Mr Platt has spent £30,000 on legal fees. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,000 costs plus a £20 surcharge. He is quoted in the media as wishing he had just paid the £60 fine. Better still had he not taken his daughter to Florida when she should have been in school. Holidays are a luxury. Education is not. The extraordinary attitude of the Grenfell Tower students is enough to remind us of that.


Please note that the Board of Governors has made some minor amendments to the Complaints Procedure that may be found on the Policies page of the school website.


I wish parents/carers, students and staff a happy and refreshing summer break and hope the results in August reflect all the hard work put in by our staff and students

Guy Davies,

Chair of the Board of Governors

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