Labour’s latest press release claims that there were over 900,000 unauthorised absences from schools and highlighting the impact this would make on efforts to decrease the attainment gap. These unexplained absences include truancy and parents taking children out of school in order to get cheaper holidays.
Whilst this is a serious issue, and one that I’m sure the SNP Scottish Government is working hard to address, it is ironic that Labour choose to raise this issue so soon after their former leader Kezia Dugdale played truant from her day job as a list MSP for the Lothians region!
Of course, Ms Dugdale wasn’t skiving off to save money, she disappeared off to Australia to fatten her bank balance via ‘I’m a Celebrity’ TV show.
Yet Labour have taken no serious action on this. By failing to discipline Ms Dugdale they are failing to show the same leadership that that they demand the SNP Scottish Government take on parents pulling kids out of school for cheaper holidays. There is also a vast difference in parents trying to find the money to take their children on holiday, and often realising that travelling outwith the school holiday period will save them a substantial amount of money, and a politician who earns more than most of the Scottish population. Although Kezia Dugdale has claimed she will be giving some of the additional money she has earned to charity no details have been released, not has she said when she was first contacted about taking part in the TV show – these things don’t happen overnight, so was she planning this trip while she was leader of Labour in Scotland, yet again showing her disregard for her day job?