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Eid means shutdown for Blackburn school
A SCHOOL has decided to close for three days over Eid to prevent absences and children taking religious leave.
Witton Park High School, a free school, will close from Monday to Wednesday next week.
The Blackburn school, which began term early this year to make up the time, said three days were required due to the uncertainty on which day the holiday of Eid-ul-Adha would fall.
Headteacher Dean Logan said the decision was to prevent a large number of Mulsim children taking extra leave which would see them fall behind in their studies.
Witton Park is a free school, run by the Tauheedul Trust, but the problem with accommodating Eid is one faced by many.
Both Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council, which offer set term dates, said headteachers can allow authorised absences for religious holidays.
In 2011, Blackburn with Darwen primary schools had the highest overall unathorised absence rate in the North West due to time off for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.
The decision to close Witton Park, instead of authorising absences, was described as a way to avoid losing valuable time by head Dean Logan.
He said: “In planning our school calendar we have a choice of either authorising time off school for religious observance, which results in students losing valuable time in school, or we can arrange our school year in a better way.
“This September we started school three days early so time could be taken to recognise the festival. By arranging our calendar in this way attendance at school is not lost, ensuring students are given the best possible opportunities to achieve their goals.
“Attendance is 97 per cent for this term which is fantastic as it is significantly above national figures. All information about the school year is shared with parents and is available on the school’s website.”
However the decision has angered some. One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “I find it remarkable they are to close the school for everyone, when not everyone celebrates Eid. It isn’t a national holiday and has nothing to do with the faith of the school.
“There is no reason for non-Muslim children to take three days off at this time.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council said schools could authorise absences for religious reasons.