Police chief calls for term-time holidays for officers' children

Justin Curran Justine Curran has asked head teachers to use their powers of discretion to grant leave in term time

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The chief constable of Humberside Police has written to schools asking for the children of officers to be given holiday leave during term time.

Justine Curran said the force had to restrict leave during summer and Christmas for operational reasons.

Head teachers in England can only grant absence during school time in "exceptional circumstances".

Ms Curran has asked head teachers to use their discretion to "fully consider" holiday requests.

In her letter, Ms Curran wrote: "I fully support the notion that every child needs to attend school regularly and absences should be minimised wherever possible."

She said that over the summer Humberside officers would be helping to police the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Nato Summit in south Wales.

'Making exceptions'

Paul Yeomans chairman of the Humberside Police Federation, which represents junior officers, said his members supported the chief constable's call.

"They're not able to take their leave during the peak times and it is not their fault," he said.

If parents in England and Wales fail to ensure their children attend school, they may be issued with penalty notices of £50 to £100. Prosecution can result in a fine of up to £2,500, a jail sentence of up to three months or a community sentence.

In a letter to Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Education Secretary Michael Gove said the Department for Education guidance to head teachers "does not specify what constitutes exceptional circumstances".

He added: "Neither have we said that leave of absence can or cannot be granted to families of certain occupations."

John Killeen, head of South Cave Primary School and local representative of the National Association of Head Teachers union, said there was "inflexibility in a lot of professions".

"We have sympathy with the police service but it would make the head teacher's position untenable with the rest if the parent body if they started making exceptions."

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