VOTE: Worthing school bans holiday leave

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A WORTHING school has decided to refuse all requests for holiday leave during term time.

Alison Beer, head teacher at Worthing High School, in South Farm Road, sent a letter home to parents because the school had seen “increasingly large number of letters from parents requesting leave during term time”.

The letter, which the school has shown the Herald, said: “Following on from Michael Gove’s announcement that schools will be set even higher targets for student attendance, as well as the plethora of data showing the dramatic decline in success rate at school should attendance drop below 95 per cent, Worthing High School has reviewed its ‘absence during term time’ protocol for students.

“We have an increasingly large number of letters from parents requesting leave during term time, many of these with equally valid reasons, so the governing body has determined that all requests for holiday leave during term will be refused across all year groups with effect from the autumn term 2011.”

Parent of a child at the school, Liz King, 42, said she didn’t think parents should be taking their children out of school for holidays during term time.

“There’s plenty of time when they are not at school to go away on holidays,” she said.

“When children get to high school it is an important time and taking one or two weeks out would mean they’re missing out.”

A father of a year-10 student, who asked not to be named, said he did not agree with the decision to refuse holiday leave.

He said: “If a parent wants to take their child out of school for holiday, they’ll do it. I don’t think the refusal would stop them – it is so expensive to go abroad, or go on any holiday, during the school holidays, so I can understand why some take children out of school.

“I also think the school will see more absence with parents claiming their children are sick, when possibly they could be going away.”

At other Worthing high schools, requests for holiday leave are considered.

At Davison High School for Girls, parents are required to fill out a request form. The absence requests have to be authorised by the head teacher and holidays are not authorised for year 10 or 11 pupils.

Durrington High School said the head teacher can authorise leave of absence for up to two weeks – 10 school days – in any school year to enable a child to go on an annual family holiday.

No holiday will be authorised for year 10 and 11 pupils.

St Andrew’s High School for Boys said it informs parents of their legal rights to take 10 school days’ holiday per academic year but also reminds them of the impact in-term holiday can have on their sons’ education.

Requests near or during exam periods are not be authorised.

Chatsmore Catholic High School said the school asks parents not to take holiday during term time, but would “seriously consider” each leave application received.

Do you think it is right to ban pupils from taking holidays during term time? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen, and leave your comments below.