A HEADTEACHER who denied a heart-surgery bound mum’s daughters time away off school has said ‘careful consideration’ goes into each absence request.

Mother-of-two Emma Payne said she felt let down by St Augustine of Canterbury Primary School in Burnley after it refused to let her daughters, Charlotte, 10, and Sophie, eight, have up to five days out of school while she undergoes an operation at the Newcastle Freeman Hospital in a few weeks.

She wants her daughters to be with her during the hospital stay and, as her husband Mark will be in Newcastle, there would be no one to care for them at home.

Mrs Payne, 37, who runs Emma’s Newsagents in the town, said she applied for both her daughters to have five days’ leave, hoping they would only need between two and three days if the operation went well.

If the operation was not a success, Mrs Payne would need open heart surgery and that would keep her in hospital for five days.

However, in a letter the Lowerhouse Lane school said it had only authorised two days’ absence and would not allow five days due to Charlotte’s standard attainment tests (SATs) exams in May.

Sinead Colbeck, the school’s headteacher, said: “ We cannot comment on individual cases.

“Even though we work in line with government guidelines which make it clear that absence can only be authorised in exceptional circumstances, we speak with the families concerned each time to make sure that the reasons are totally understood so that every decision is appropriate.

“We give careful consideration to each request and review on an ongoing basis.”