Merton - Heads, have a heart on hols

13th August 2010 at 01:00

A councillor from Merton council has said heads need to be more understanding of parents who take their children on holiday during term-time.

Councillor Jeff Hanna, a former headteacher of The Connaught School in Aldershot, has announced parents in Merton will not be fined if they take their children away during the school term.

Instead, he says schools need to understand the pressure on parents, who struggle to get time off work, and warned against issuing charges.

Last week it was revealed that 13,041 school days were missed across the London borough due to holidays during this academic year, excluding the final half-term.

Councillor Hanna, who is also an adviser to the cabinet member for education, said: "Imposing fixed penalties automatically is not the answer.

"Ideally, schools should have a system by which parents can apply for permission for their child's absence, explaining the circumstances, and attaching any confirmation from their employer if that is appropriate.

"The headteacher should then consider each request on its merits." gl.

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