Petition ‘makes a point’ over holidays

Paul Walker.

Paul Walker. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Primary School has responded to complaints about its Christmas holiday dates.

Mum-of-two Fiona Hooper launched an online petition to express her annoyance that parents are having to foot the bill for the school’s late start in January.

The Woolbrook resident said she will be paying an additional £176 in childcare as she will have to return to work before the school recommences on January 9.

The petition has received 31 signatures from parents and members of the community.

Ms Hooper said: “People are having to get extra childcare or take extra time off. It [the petition] is making a point.”

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In response, Paul Walker, headteacher for Sidmouth Primary School, said the school sets its own dates and tries to align itself with Sidmouth College and primary schools in Newton Poppleford, Sidbury and Branscombe.

Mr Walker said: “The dates were agreed on back in 2014. We always try to do things to get us to be in sync.

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“We have no authority with other schools.

“I appreciate there will be challenges.”

Karin Persson, team leader at Sidmouth Day Care and Pre-school, said the nursery will be open up until Christmas. However, its funding stops on December 16 and recommences on January 3.

The team leader said the holiday has caused a problem for her staff, adding: “As I run a busy nursery, it means that I’m short staffed and children may miss out on the care needed to fit in with the odd week that differs from siblings. What a strange thing to do to be out of sync with the whole area.”

Mr Walker added that pupils would be coming back in sync with Sidmouth College in January 2018.

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