By Natalie Heath
A petition started by Brighton mother Annie Heath calls for schools to combine inset (in-service training) days so families can afford a holiday.
Ms Heath said: “Schools may say it’s not their responsibility, but as parents we do a lot for our schools that we don’t have to, such as organising school fairs, fundraising and volunteering for school trips at times that are not ideal for us. We are simply asking for a bit of help in return.”
Councillor Tom Bewick, who chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “I believe the current national guidelines around school absence are not working in the interests of all families.”
He pointed out the authority had no power to make schools comply.
Mr Bewick added: “I believe it is important that head teachers make decisions around the timing of inset days based on the best academic interests of their pupils.
“However, if this could be achieved in a way that offers lower-income families the chance to take holidays that would otherwise be unaffordable then I think it would certainly be worth exploring.”
A school in Newport, South Wales and another in Kent have already adopted the idea.
The petition closed yesterday (Sunday 11 October) and was due to be presented to the committee today (Monday 12 October).
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