Parents’ fury at headteacher’s term time holiday to watch World Cup in Brazil

The Telegraph is reporting that a primary school whose headmaster took two weeks off work to travel to Brazil for the World Cup during term time has infuriated parents saying different rules of absence apply to pupils…

Parents have criticised the decision after Ed McGovern, 55, was allowed to take unpaid leave from Stafford Leys Primary School, in Leicester, due to “personal reasons.”

The school has not confirmed the reason for Mr McGovern’s absence but parents found out he had gone to South America for the World Cup, the Sun has reported.

A spokesman for the school said Mr McGovern has never previously made a request for leave of absence and his attendance record has been “exemplary”.

The chairman of governors, Grace Fox further angered parents saying rules for parents taking children out of school in term time and teachers taking leave of absence were “two separate issues.”

She told The Telegraph: “There was an application for leave and the leave was granted by the governing body. It was made in confidence with a member of staff and we respect their right to confidentiality when leave is granted.”

Asked why Mr McGovern’s application for leave was initially turned down and later granted, Mrs Fox said: “The discussions about the process were confidential just as the content was.”

She added: “Mr Gove has issued a national directive (on parents taking children out of school in term time). We have told parents it will be considered if our attendance levels drop in the future.”

But Carlton Skeats, 44, a parent with two children said: “Considering parents face fines for taking their children out of school this just reeks of double standards. It doesn’t send the right message at all.”…

Mr McGovern’s request for time off was originally rejected by governors following a row when the headteacher of another Leicester school was allowed to take a month off in term time to get married.

The decision however was overturned after the head appealed with the help of his union.

A school spokesman said: “Requests for leave of absence for personal reasons can be made by staff in line with our school policy.

“Our leave of absence policy states that the Governors “will endeavour to facilitate requests for leave” and “will wherever possible seek to achieve for our employees a balance between home, work and leisure as part of our commitment to being an employer of choice”.

“Our headteacher has led the school with distinction for the past ten years. During that time the school has improved from being judged by OFSTED as having serious weaknesses to our most recent inspection earlier this year which showed that all aspects were at least good.

“His attendance record over this period has been exemplary and he has never previously made a request for leave of absence.

“The request was for unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons which has been approved by the Governing body after careful consideration…

More at: Parents’ fury at headteacher’s term time holiday to watch World Cup in Brazil

Hmmmm. I’m sure the school could cope without him for two weeks but surely this sets a really bad example to parents and children? Or is that unfair? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

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Categories: Primary and Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is wrong on just about every level. The head’s and chair of governors position now untenable?

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove When you chose education for a career, you must accept that your holiday dates must fall in certain time periods

  3. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove Not great example but wrong to link children’s and staff attendance – they are not the same issue at all. One is statutory

  4. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove Employees are entitled to request unpaid leave. Children are legally obliged to attend school – two separate issues

  5. gasman_g

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Agreed but should your career choice mean you can *never* go to a World Cup, for example until you retire?

  6. andylutwyche

    gasman_g SchoolsImprove If it falls in term time then “yes”. Especially now parents are being fined for the same thing

  7. gasman_g

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Ok – but surely you accept schools have different policies for staff and students – dangerous to link them IMO

  8. gasman_g

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove We must see if differently – for me, staff are adults at work and children are children… not same at all

  9. gasman_g

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Next we’ll have parents bleating that staff are allowed their mobile phones at school but don’t allow children

  10. andylutwyche

    gasman_g SchoolsImprove Mobile phone argument completely different, at least staff are still there. Term time holidays not acceptable

  11. jess_madge

    SchoolsImprove Classroom teachers allowed days off for lots of reasons – interviews, house moves etc. But never holidays in my experience.

  12. garrodt

    SchoolsImprove MumsnetTowers educationgovuk NUTonline NASUWT JeanJeangarrod Has his Mum taken him out of term time w/out permission ?

  13. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove the more ridiculous stories that come out of this policy (both sides) the quicker it will be improved

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