English school gives two weeks Oct break to students for visiting native land


A primary school is introducing a two-week October break to allow families of Asian heritage the chance to visit their relatives in Pakistan and other countries when the weather is cooler.

Wensley Fold Primary School, a Church of England academy in Blackburn, Lancashire, said the changes are being made after requests from parents to take their children out of school to visit relatives abroad.

The school, which until now has had a week off for the October half-term, said the changes would be introduced as a trial for the new school year in September.

A statement on the school’s website said the extra five days off would be made up at the start of the school year.

The latest Ofsted figures, from an inspection in 2006, show the school has an above average number of pupils from minority ethnic groups, with 85 per cent of pupils not speaking English as their first language.

That number was up from the 2001 inspection when 66 per cent of pupils were found to have English as an additional language.

There are currently 304 children on the school roll.

The new two-week autumn break at Wensley Fold Primary comes shortly after the government announced more freedom to allow head teachers set term dates.

In a letter to parents, the governing body said the changes were being made in response to requests from families to visit their relatives abroad.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said October was the best time to visit family in Pakistan due to the more reasonable temperatures.

Average daily temperatures in the capital Islamabad can reach 33 degrees in the height of summer.

A letter to parents, published on the school’s website, said: ‘In light of the changes by the government to holidays in school time and the many requests we have from parents to take children out of school to visit relations overseas, the governors have decided to review the school holiday pattern 2014-2015.

‘In October 2014 the school will close for two weeks from October 20 until October 31, instead of the usual one week closure.

‘The five days will be made up at the beginning of the school year and we will of course, have to comply with the regulatory school openings.

‘We are giving all parents as much notice as possible to book flights.

‘The governors have decided that this will be a trial for one year initially and we would welcome feedback from parents in the future.’