Jealous Parents Rage At Headteacher Taking Time Off To Get Married In Term Time
VINA Pankhania is the acting headteacher at Little Hill Primary, in Wigston, Leics. She’s off on a four-week, unpaid trip to arrange her wedding. Vina will not be at school between April 28 and May 23.
The school was judged outstanding by Ofsted at its last inspection. So. She’s been doing a very good job.
The Sun says the summer half-term Whitsun holiday starts three days after her planned return. And that her trip has been met with “fury”.
We hear from one Sonya Gilmour:
“As a parent of two boys at Little Hill, I find this disgusting. How can governors approve leave just after Easter break when parents themselves can be fined for similar actions? Surely the summer time off she has is big enough to accommodate a wedding.”
Another parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, calls Vina “arrogant”. He adds:
“Anyone employed in education gets ample holiday time to arrange weddings and holidays without needing time off during the term. The school refuses to authorise any pupils’ holidays during term and issues letters stating this at regular intervals. The head appears to think this principle doesn’t apply to her. I feel the school has set a precedent and will be unable to enforce the policy applying to pupils or, indeed, any of the staff.”
Another anonymous mum agrees with Sonya that it is “disgusting”.
The Sun appears to show that the head was afforded the right to reply:
Ms Pankhania refused to comment and would not say why she had organised her wedding during term time. Nor would she say whether she thought it was fair to punish parents for taking their children out of school during term.
And then you read the governors’ statement:
“Our staff are usually required to take leave during school holidays. However, we have approved the acting headteacher’s request for unpaid leave to get married, because she has worked extremely hard over the last two years, including during school holidays, to bring stability to our school. Her deputy/deputies will cover her duties while she is away and this will not disrupt any teaching. The majority of parents have wished her well and have not expressed any concerns about her leave.”
So much for the fury at the school. What about elsewhere in the media? The Mail gets its claws out:
Headteacher takes a MONTH off during term time to get married despite pupils being banned from doing the same – and she has already got 13 weeks holiday a year
But she hasn’t taken 13 weeks holiday. The governors said she worked during some of it. And teachers deserve a break – have your ever tried being on show all day at work and having your performance monitored and graded by kids, parents and officials? It’s bloody hard yakka. And don’t pupils also get 13 weeks off a year? Is that too much for the Mail?
The Mail adds, as do all news sources:
Until September, head teachers were able to grant up to 10 days’ holiday leave per year to pupils for ‘special circumstances’. Now they are no longer able to grant any absence during term time, except under ‘exceptional circumstances’. Parents who take their child out of school in term can be given a £60 penalty, rising to £120 if it is not paid within 28 days. Breaches are dealt with by fines of up to £2,500 or three months in jail.
So what? That’s children. Vina is an adult. They have to go to school. She choses to be a teacher. Spot the difference?
And what of the thousands of people who signed an e-petition against tour operators charging extra in the school holidays? Aren’t they all with Vina?