Family and head clash over Israel trip

Five children (above) from one family are to be taken out of school during term time to visit Israel. It will be educational, argues their mother

Five children (above) from one family are to be taken out of school during term time to visit Israel. It will be educational, argues their mother

A couple are furious that a Jewish school has refused to allow a term-time trip to Israel to celebrate their son’s barmitzvah and daughter’s batmitzvah.

Amanda and Simon Moss arranged a double blessing at the Western Wall for next April.

They made the booking over a year ago, spending £4,000 on travel and accommodation for themselves, their five children and newborn baby, and invited friends and family to join them.

But they submitted a request for eight days’ leave to Liverpool’s King David High School this month, only to receive a letter refusing permission on the grounds that holidays are not authorised during term time.

Mrs Moss, who is director of Liverpool Fashion Week, said: “I have never been more offended. All they sent me was the standard letter saying they don’t allow absence for holidays, when it is clearly not a holiday. It is an educational trip and a pilgrimage around Israel.”

When they informed the school that the trip was planned to coincide with daughter Honey’s 12th birthday — as well as to mark son Saxon having turned 13 — they were advised to delay it until the Pesach holidays.

Parents Amanda and Simon Moss

Parents Amanda and Simon Moss

Headteacher Brigid Smith said her decision was based on new legislation which rules that parents may incur fines for taking their children away during term time.

Ms Smith said: “I wasn’t given sufficient information to grant them exceptional circumstances. All I got was a piece of paper saying ‘Saxon’s Barmitzvah in Israel’, and when we asked, the only reason I was given was because that it was cheaper to go before Pesach.

“I sent a letter to the family last week saying the absence wouldn’t be authorised, and haven’t heard a word back. Mrs Moss should have contacted me to tell me she was offended.”

But Mrs Moss said: “If I’d gone to the school, I think they would just have fobbed me off”, insisting the trip would go ahead.

Ms Smith says it is unlikely the family will be fined. But an unauthorised absence will be marked on the records of both children.

Last updated: 6:45am, October 18 2013