Child care chaos fear over half term clash

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Parents whose children attend schools in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire could face childcare chaos due to a clash in half term holidays.

Schools in Cambridgeshire will take their Spring 2013 half term from February 11 to 15, while Suffolk schools will break up a week later between February 18 and 22.

The clash has concerned working parents with children at schools in both counties, who face having to scrap plans for family holidays, take time off work or organise extra childcare.

Sarah Liming, of New Cheveley Road, Newmarket, said it was “absolutely mad” that councils had not synchronised school holiday dates.

It means her daughter, Eve, who attends Cambridge County Council-run Ditton Lodge Primary School in Newmarket, will have a different week off to her elder daughter, Amy, who studies at Newmarket College in Exning Road, run by Suffolk County Council.

“Normally, we would do things together as a family in half term,” said Mrs Liming. “It means my husband will have to take a week of holiday to look after my older daughter.

“It just seems absolutely mad that two local authorities can’t manage their holidays.”

Mother-of-two Sue McKeown, of Darwin Close, Newmarket, said it was “another boundary issue” between Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Her nine-year-old daughter, Katie, is a pupil at Ditton Lodge Primary School, while 13-year-old Ella attends Suffolk County Council-run County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds.

Mrs McKeown said: “To have a whole week’s difference is just ridiculous. I work so it’s going to mean me having two weeks’ holiday just to cover one week of half term.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Following discussions with unions and headteachers, we agreed an earlier half term in February 2013 to give schools and pupils a week longer in the second half of the spring term.

“This was the recommendation of these groups and our own education officers and was seen as beneficial to teaching and learning.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the half term dates for Newmarket College and County Upper School were in line with every school in Suffolk and would not

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