Nearly £4,500 spent on Truro headteachers' trip to Rome
QUESTIONS have been asked after thousands of pounds was spent on sending Truro head teachers to Rome for three days.
Heads from eight schools and one state nursery flew to meet with Italian colleagues.
The trip is understood to have cost taxpayers nearly £4,500.
The teachers said the trip, for which they gave up their weekends, helped to develop the teaching of foreign languages.
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The modern languages development group is made up of Penair School and primaries Archbishop Benson, Bosvigo, Devoran, Kea, St Erme with Trispen, St Mary's and Tregolls, and Truro Nursery School.
Several parents contacted the West Briton to question whether the trip, the latest in a series of overseas visits, and the expenditure were necessary. One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: "I fail to understand, in so-called times of austerity, the justification for a group of primary school heads and a secondary school head disappearing off.
"Spending out of school funds on a 'jolly' is taking scarce resources away from schoolchildren and staff out of school.
"It can't be justified."
Penair head teacher Barbara Vann told the West Briton funding remaining from under the previous government to Penair had been used to cover accommodation costs of £330 per person.
Each school then contributed £163.30 towards costs of the trip, for a total of £4,442.40.
Head teachers personally met other unspecified costs.
Speaking on behalf of the school group, Dr Vann, who will retire this year, said: "The purpose of the visit is a leadership opportunity to continue to develop our already thriving proactive teaching of primary languages across our school network, giving a cross-phase co-ordination of language teaching for all our children aged 3 to 16.
"This is already paying great dividends both in the positive and creative teaching of French and Spanish by our own staff at nursery and primary level, and reflected in the number and success rate of secondary pupils taking languages at GCSE."
Italian is not on the curriculum at Penair.
Dr Vann said "some" schools in the group were teaching Italian but when the West Briton asked every primary school only Bosvigo School said Italian was offered, as an extra-curricular subject, as part of a course on Italian culture.