Holiday clash for parents of pupils across Dacorum

Library image.
Library image.

Parents will face a child care conundrum next Easter as school holidays for primary and secondary schools will not match up.

It means that parents with children of both primary and secondary school age may struggle with work commitments and child care arrangements, while secondary school teachers with primary school aged children and vice versa will also face a dilemma.

6/9/2011'Sue Collings is the new headteacher at Tring School.

6/9/2011'Sue Collings is the new headteacher at Tring School.

It comes about after many of Dacorum’s secondary schools decided to amend the Easter break dates, issued by Herts County Council, which would have seen children off for a long weekend over the Easter period, returning to school for four days and then having two weeks off.

Chairman of the West Herts Association of Secondary School Heads Sue Collings, from Tring School, said: “We could see that attendance on those four days might be variable.

“Each secondary school headteacher in Dacorum went to their primary schools to look at the dates.

“A lot of the primary schools were very much in favour of the revised dates, to set the two week holiday to include the break.

“Then the local authority said in a primary conference that they did not have the authority to change their dates unless they are an academy, although some church schools would have the authority.”

Not knowing this, the secondary school headteachers went on to set their dates for their partnership A Level courses – many students visit other schools for their subjects so that there is a wide variety of subject options on offer.

Mrs Collings said: “It is very hard to unpick that knowing then that the primaries had been told that they would have to roll over and go with the local authority dates.

“We were quite upset that that decision had been taken by the local authority.

“It has made it more challenging.

“Hopefully the advanced notice is allowing parents to think this all through but we recognise that it is not perfect.”

Every year, Dacorum’s primary and secondary schools get together to talk about holiday dates and later this year a change in legislation means primary schools will be able to set their own dates.

A spokesman for the county council said: “We are aware that some schools chose to set dates which did not align with Hertfordshire’s dates.

“It has always been acknowledged that academy schools are not required to follow the county council’s model and will ultimately make their own decisions regarding their term dates.

“Indeed, it is possible that in future there may be greater variety of term dates, and even term structures, as individual schools look at innovative ways of teaching and raising standards.”