Holiday fines for parents number 64,000 in less than a year

Number has leaped since Government ban was introduced in September

Parents being fined for taking their children out of school during term-time has risen sharply in England since the Government’s ban was introduced in September last year.

Nearly 64,000 fines have been issued in the past 11 months, steep rise of 70 per cent, according to local Government data acquired by the BBC from more than 118 councils.

Parents are fined £60 per parent, per child for each time a child is absent from school, which is doubled if they do not pay up within 21 days.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said fewer children were missing lessons as a result.

He said the fines introduced by the Government were based on research that suggested children who regularly miss lessons will be at risk of damaging their chances of achieving good qualifications.

“This Government has been determined to close the attainment gap between those from poorer and wealthier backgrounds. Improving attendance is key to delivering that objective,” he said.

Run like the wind: Anahita in Mauritius sees the opening, this year, of
a new children's holiday club But hundreds of thousands of parents have actively opposed the ban, petitioning for the Government to help them by getting holiday companies such as tour operators and airlines to stop raising their prices during peak periods, which falls over the school holidays.

Campaigner Stuart Sutherland told the BBC he was fined for taking his three children out of school for five days, but that as he and his wife both work shifts, getting time off is not simple.

“Once the regulations came into force it became just a block ban, rather than schools and local councils considering each case individually.

“It’s now becoming the case that family holidays are just for the rich because so many working people either can’t afford it or get the time off outside of school terms.

“Family holidays are as important to children as school. A happy child will get their work done better. This shouldn’t be treated the same as persistent truancy,” he said.

Richard Branson gave his backing the campaign of parent Janice Skelcher last week, claiming that children "may well learn more [on family holidays] than they ever could in a classroom".

The highest rise in fines were found in Lancashire, up from 1,125 fines issued in the 12 months before the ban was introduced, which leaped to 3,106 since September. Doncaster was close behind with fines up from 630 to 1,464.

Richard Branson backed one parent's campaign against fines for taking their children out of school Richard Branson said children 'may well learn more [on family holidays] than they ever could in a classroom' Some councils where  there had been steep rises in fines, said it was down to not imposing fines before the ban was implemented, while a small portion of the fines recorded were for repeated poor attendance or truancy.

But as a result of the changes, 130,000 fewer pupils are regularly missing lessons, which means they are “getting the chance of a good education that prepares them for a life in modern Britain,” Mr Gibb said.

"We do understand the concerns of parents, however, and are introducing new rules to give all schools the power to choose their own term dates.

"One benefit of this may be that teachers, pupils and parents are able to take holidays outside of current peak periods. We hope parents and schools will make good use of this new freedom."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee