School holidays fear for tourism

Andrew Mellor headteacher of St Nicholas' Primary School, Marton.
Andrew Mellor headteacher of St Nicholas' Primary School, Marton.
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Plans to overhaul school holidays for children across the Fylde coast could have a major impact on tourism, resort leaders said today.

Headteachers and tourism bosses have questioned Government proposals under the new Deregulation Bill, which is set to be scrutinised by MPs in the coming weeks.

The bill could pave the way for state schools to change the traditional six week summer holidays and set their own term times.

The changes would come into effect from September 2015, but Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, believes it could harm tourism.

She said: “Our hotels aren’t geared up for families, but schools affect us massively because we have teachers who arrange holidays with us and we are reliant on them.

“The attractions are open throughout the summer anyway, but I think it will be the entertainment side that would be more difficult to judge.

“It could mean we have more peaks and troughs and the season undulates over the summer instead of it spreading out over busy times.

Schools will still be required to open 190 days of the year, but some of the Fylde coast’s headteachers have raised concerns about the plans for parents who have children in different schools.

Andrew Mellor headteacher of St Nicholas’ Primary School, on School Road, Marton, said: “These things have to be thought through because of the childcare cost for parents and I would like to work with Blackpool Council to see how holidays could change.”

Parents’ regular requests

A headteacher has spoken about issues surrounding attendance after it was revealed term times could be altered.

Peter Hyland, headteacher of St Chad’s Primary School in Poulton, says parents frequently submit requests for holidays during term time because holidays are cheaper.

He said: “One of the large difficulties I have as well as other schools in the area is holidays in term times because prices are so much more expensive and our absence rates fly up.

“I don’t feel under pressure from parents but I’ve just had two requests for absences next year and I had to decline them because they have to be exceptional circumstances.”

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