Fairly recently, our noble leader and righteous commander appeared once again on TV. This particular appearance centred around his ability as a talking Head (very funny. -Ed) and his rather negative opinion on the matter of parents taking children out of school for holidays during term time, which is ironic since the interview took place on a school day, when he should have also been in school - you know - doing his job. Despite what we think of his ability to do his job, he is still paid by the taxpayer to be in school in term time.
During the BBC interview, the Head fought tooth-and-nail for the right of schools to have high attendance figures, something he is evidently invested in, although he acknowledged that (£120 Local Authority enforced) fines were a "blunt instrument". He insisted that they "are working", citing low absence figures.
For someone who is claims that "a week off primary school can certainly affect the achievement and life chances of a young person", though, the Head appears to be oddly at ease with sending pupils home, regardless of the looming proximity of examinations, to change because they lack 'full school uniform' (i.e. the worst black shoes money can buy, an ironically expensive blazer and a regulation 'HS' armband). Once again, the Head's opinion that "every minute is a learning minute" seems to be at odds with his actions when he does turn up for school.
Expanding upon this idea, Jacques said also that "what [educators] can't do is replace 25 hours of teaching by a professional" and that "the idea of catching up is in itself a nonsense", which rather undermines all the countless catch-up and revision sessions the school puts on every year in time for exams, as well as any well-meaning student who has, through no fault of their own, missed school and is trying to get back up to speed. Surely a school system in which an attendance of 99.57% (one week of absence throughout the entirety of primary school per the Head's claim) has an effect warranting discussion is a flawed school system, especially when the national average is several percentage points below this. A system that is so rigidly inflexible to the point it penalises those who are forced by circumstance to miss school.
Unable to shed his penchant for shoehorned terminology and cliché sound bites, the Head talked frequently of a "cumulative impact" throughout the interview. He did not say what this actually meant, so we can only assume he was talking about the impact on a student's education from the amount of days off over a given time period. Either that, or the total damage asteroids cause. Seen as he was arguing against students being taken out of school for blocks of time, such as a week, rather than individual days, his persistence in the use of the term 'cumulative' seems redundant.
The conflict of interest in asking a man whose only known allegiance is to the league tables about attendance is glaring. Taking the self-preserving stance of dodging direct questions, the distinctly uncaptivating Head offers no insight whatsoever, and is simply there to fill a seat and quash any suggestions that anything other than 100% attendance is "regular".
DISCLAIMER: This article is a critique of a BBC interview with the Head, and so any criticisms are the opinions of the writer. That said, all of them are logically valid claims, unlike the ones the Head normally makes.