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Changes to Lancashire school holidays 'impossible'
12:00pm Wednesday 12th March 2014 in News
MAKING changes to school holidays would prove ‘impossible’, according to councillors and unions.
Both Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council are to stay with a ‘standard school year’, despite calls from parents to review sch- ool holidays.
It comes as the number of parents fined for taking their child out of school for a holiday has risen dramatically.
A UK survey of the 34 councils across England which responded showed almost 5,300 fines imposed during the autumn term.
Until last year, heads in England were able to grant up to 10 days of leave a year. Now they are unable to grant absence in term time except under “exc-eptional circumstances”.
The county council this week decided to stay with traditional terms, and Blackburn with Darwen Council’s education authority also currently use trad-itional dates.
Blackburn schools councillor Dave Harling said: “It’s an impossible riddle to solve because there isn’t any overarching agreement.
“Changing dates for individual schools, or in different areas, would also cause chaos for some parents with children at different schools.
“However, it is very expensive for parents, and you have great sympathy with them.”
Darwen mum-of-one and former travel agent Pippa O’Toole said parents should be allowed to take children out of school within reason. She said: “I have family in South Africa and it costs thousands in the summer. I have taken my son out of school during term with permission and it did him no harm.”
Simon Jones, of the NUT, said: “Having different term times would cause chaos. However, a genuine request to see relatives should be seen as a chance for the child to see more of the world.”
Claire Ward, of the NASUWT, said: “I definitely would not adv- ocate children being taken out of school during term time if it was going to impact their educ-ation. However, some families feel they have no choice in ord-er to holiday as a family.”
The county council’s report on the issue this week said: “Lancashire will continue to determine the holiday pattern based on the Standard School Year after consultation with the dioc- esan authorities and the teach-er associations.”
Schools councillor Matthew Tomlinson said: “It’s really important for consistency.
“However, academies are free to choose their own dates.”
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