Headteachers back holidays crackdown

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Headteachers across the borough and an MP have backed a crackdown on parents who take pupils for school holidays during term time.

There was widespread support for Education Secretary Micheal Gove’s proposals, which call for headteachers to no longer be able to sanction up to two weeks a year of “authorised absence” during school term.

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning said: “I am completely supportive. My headteachers at the schools have told me it is a nightmare for them.

“Kids have an awful lot of time off during holidays and when term time is on they should be in school.

“I appreciate holiday companies put prices up outside term time, but it has always been like that.

“I do not know if it is getting worse, but I know it is an issue headteachers have been talking about for some time.”

Kings Langley School headteacher Gary Lewis said: “I feel quite strongly about it but as with most things it is never black and white.

“Any headteacher in the world would not advocate parents taking children out of school in term time.

“We are very forthright in our treatment of parents who we feel are abusing the system, but having said that, I am understanding of genuine circumstances.

“The statistics are pretty stark that the children who do not attend regularly do not do as well in examinations.”

Tring School headteacher Susan Collings said: “Holidays are an active choice and should not be taken during term time.

“It is very important students attend school. We do not authorise holidays during term time.

“You just cannot have parents taking children out from their valuable time for learning. It is about children getting consistency of learning, enabling them to progress.

“Whatever the nature of the holiday, it actually has an impact and it is usually quite negative.