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Schools (Holiday Periods)

Volume 934: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will seek powers to forbid county education authorities from requiring city schools to remain open during traditional industrial holiday weeks.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the disgraceful decision of the Tory-controlled Leicestershire County Education Authority to keep schools open for one of the two weeks when traditionally they close in the holiday, thus forcing parents to give up half their holiday with their children or to keep their children away from school? In the circumstances, will she reconsider her decision or will she give advice to that authority to the effect that it should take account of the ordinary needs of working people?

As my hon. and learned Friend knows, it has long been the case that local education authorities decide the dates and terms of school holidays on the assumption that they best understand local needs. Occasionally the system breaks down, but we do not believe that it would be right to seek to change the law on this matter. However, I understand that the full council is proposing to reconsider this decision, and it may be that it will be able to satisfy my hon. and learned Friend.