A headteacher has been given a months holiday in term time, despite leading a school that warns parents they may be fined if their children are absent, reports the Leicester Mercury. Governors at Little Hill Primary School have allowed Miss Vina Pankhania the time off because “she has worked extremely hard over the past two years”.
The school used to let children take up to 10 days off during term time in “special circumstances” but more recently enacted a policy of only letting them take time off in “extreme circumstances”.
Parents who break the rules get a £60 fine, rising to £120 if it is not paid within 28 days. Failure to pay the fine can result in the courts meting out a further fine of up to £2,500 or three months in jail.
One parent, Sonya Gilmour said: “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 said Miss Pankhania was either “incredibly arrogant or naive” for taking time off during term time, at a school that bans pupils from doing the same. He said: “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.”
Miss Pankhania, 32, is getting married on Saturday but despite this she has been allowed off until the 23rd May.
Neither Leicestershire County Council nor the Department for Education were willing to comment on the case, as staff leave is a matter for the governing body of each individual school.