HEADTEACHERS should be able to decide whether or not to authorise term-time holidays, an Oxfordshire education boss has said.

Melinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member, said: “It totally depends on what they’re doing with those days that they aren’t at school.

“If a child is going with its mum and dad to see his or her grandparents, that’s educational in a way and certainly something that’s good for the child. It is so much cheaper to go on holiday during term time and I think we should be tackling it from the other end because holidays, flights and everything else are way overpriced in school holidays.”

Statistics show thousands of county children continue to be given the go-ahead to take holidays during term-time. In spring 2012, 25,525 half days in primary schools were missed due to authorised holiday, and 7,521 in secondary schools. That equated to 11.5 per cent of all primary absence and 3.2 per cent of secondary absence, above the national average of 7.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.

Lynn Knapp, headteacher at Windmill Primary School, Headington, said: “If they want two to three days and it means they can get a family holiday together, I will authorise that because family time and holidays are important to children too.”