Headteacher's term-time holiday sparks row

Bill Mann
Bill Mann
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A row has broken out after a school headteacher took a day off work during term time to go to Rome to watch rugby.

Bill Mann (pictured), headteacher at Eccleston Saint Mary’s Primary School, flew to Rome on Friday, February 10, to watch the following day’s Italy v Ireland Six Nations match.

Some parents were angry that the headmaster had been allowed to take time off in term time, while parents in the county have been fined for taking their children out of school.

But others have leapt to Mr Mann’s defence, saying he is a hard-working and exceptional headteacher.

One person went so far as to send an anonymous letter asking why the headteacher had been allowed to take time off in term time.

The letter said: “When authorities are fining parents for taking their children out of school in term time it is hard to believe that the headteacher was absent from school on the last day of term as he was flying to Italy.”

The letter writer went on to ask whether the headteacher would be fined and whether his pay would be docked as a consequence.

But the governors have mounted a staunch defence of Mr Mann. Garry Fishwick, chair of governors at the school, said: “Mr Mann always works very hard for the school and has been working particularly long hours over recent months, taking on teaching responsibilities as well as his usual leadership role, and steering the school through a rigorous inspection by the Diocese. On the day in question, Mr Mann worked from home in the morning and then took a flight in the afternoon, which I was pleased to sanction given the excessive hours he had been working during the previous few weeks.”

The school is rated Outstanding by Ofsted.