1,400 Midlands parents hit by school holiday fines

Almost 1,400 parents in the Black Country and Staffordshire have been fined for taking their children on holiday during the school term.

beach

In the Walsall borough alone more than 600 were hit with penalties during the last academic year, shelling out almost £40,000.

The new figures obtained by the Express & Star show parents are paying dearly for flouting government rules aimed at preventing children from missing school.

Under legislation, which came into force in September, headteachers are only allowed to grant term-time absences in exceptional circumstances.

Before this it was down to the headteacher’s discretion whether or not they granted up to 10 days holiday or reported absent pupils to the local authority.

But many parents argue they have been priced out of going on holiday during peak times.  The figures highlight contrasts between the neighbouring local authorities.

Parents who have been deemed to have flouted the rules are handed a penalty charge notice (PCN) of £60 per parent, per child, which increases to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

Court

Those who refuse to pay within 28 days can then face being taken to court for failing to ensure their child regularly goes to school, which can see fines of up to £2,500 or three months imprisonment.

In the last academic year 663 parents with children at schools in Walsall have shelled out £39,650 in penalties, with the authority dishing out a further 403 charges so far this year.

Like Walsall Council, bosses at authorities in Dudley and Sandwell began issuing PCNs before the new laws came to pass.

In the academic year 2012 to 2013, Dudley Council imposed 226 fines on parents, raking in a total of £7, 380 into council coffers. Sandwell Council issued just 15 penalty notices in the same period, although two families were taken to court for non-payment.

The authority has issued nine PCNs in the current academic year, all settled without going to court.

Wolverhampton City Council has fined 48 parents since September. Staffordshire County Council has issued three PCNs since the start of the academic year.

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Comments for: "1,400 Midlands parents hit by school holiday fines"

Benidorm Bill

So lets see the schools and teachers get fined when we have half an inch of snow, and they close the school down for a week.It never seems to affect the childrens education then.

Happy_baggie

Centre Parcs and Butlins increase their prices by between 400 - 600 pounds for half term week - I'l take the 60 quid fine !!!

Stearmans overhead kick

It's all about the money,money.money.Not about concern for the children's education. Who they trying to fool.

pookle

Don,t forget INSET days..,Teachers striking

Ronnie Allen

Good. Use school holidays.

Ivor

Cast your minds back to 1944, shops closed all day and Pubs opened for just one hour on a Sunday,.

Betting offices where illegal and the working week was 6 days including a full 8 hour Saturday, Sunday school and a church visit was normal.

Another major thing to happen was the 1944 Education act, which set times, hours types of class

lessons

The world has changed out of all recognition since then, but school hours remain almost the same

stuck in a 1940's war bunker mentality

This now sets a president as an educational contract and I await parents groups who sue

School governors and teachers of failing schools

or councillors on the local LEA's who's job it is to monitor schools performance

Its not a weeks holiday for the kids that creates a failing education system.

rmpiedra

INSET days are outside of the days a child is supposed to spend in school, not instead of.

Teachers obviously lose a days pay for striking.

Schools do not keep the fines from parents who break the law and take their children out of school during term time.

markie

Avoid this situation, let teachers and pupils (parents) choose 6 weeks holiday a year and do away with the stupidly long fixed school holidays. This may cause some difficulties initialy but I am sure these well paid professional teachers wii manage it. Lets face it the rest of. society copes.

jeffrey.borra

Another Cameron's party Con trick to tax hard pressed family's.

Rob Wednesbury

It should be noted that it is neither the schools nor the governors nor teachers nor the local authority but the department for education (DfE) that have set the rules for holidays not being allowed during school terms. The DfE also insist that children must complete the required number of days in education per year while also insisting the education of children must improve term on term to set standards.

I also agree that holiday firms rip parents off with holiday charges.

Boinggobaggies

I don't agree with children being taken out of school just so parents can afford to have a week or two in the sun or on the slopes. However the government are quick to enforce such fines yet they seem unwilling to tackle the holiday companies over their own price fixing actions. I always thought price fixing was illegal in this country. It is not a case of supply and demand by any means as you can walk into any travel agent and book a holiday during the school holidays its about the public being ripped off again and a government who is quite happy to let it happen.

Old Safeway Nightcrew

Since Sunday & 24 openings, a lot of people employed in retail are unable to get time off during the school holidays.

I had a crew of 10 staff all Night Crew, only 1 was allowed a weeks holiday at a time.

Because a lot of us had been with the company a long time we had about 45 weeks holiday between us.

Because of Xmas trading holidays were not allowed during December, this meant that basically a member of crew was on holiday every single week of the year.

So if my staff wanted 2 weeks holiday to go away, not including December , only 5.5 of them could go during school holiday.

If you take into consideration that most people want to go during the summer, this brings the number of staff off during school holidays down to about 4.

This means remaining 6 of us had either to deprive our children of holidays, or take them out of term.

Despite this I always had problems Taking my children away for two weeks in the sun during term time.

Despite the fact that apart from this break they all virtually had full attendance for the rest of the time, and upon returning they would catch up with the missed work in after school clubs.

Its not always as easy as you think.

toomanysecrets

Oddly its up to head to also pass your details onto the LEA for investigation.

Should have done a FOI about that these pupils if they had low attendance to begin with.

Also its says both parents fined...I am thinking this has to be a Legal Parent on paper.

Wondering as i have 2 step children but no where on paper am i a legal parent... for example if split from my wife i would no have to a thing to CSA as the two children are not legally mine unless i adopted them....

charlie17

Cost of holidays is an important issue for many hard working parents but also many people with children are employed in the tourist industry where holidays cannot be taken at peak times when schools are closed. I watched Andrew Marr on Sunday morning with his bunch of the intellectual elite including Gove and whilst they trotted out all of the reasons why children should not be taken out of school for a family holiday they never considered the educational benefits of travel to other countries, the benefits of meeting people from different cultures and who speak different languages. They did not even consider the benefits of family time, of having mom and dad together and not under stress for a week or two. My opinion of Gove went down as a result of this programme.

Lakeside

If parents used school holidays for educational purposes then maybe you would have a point but really, I'm not sure that going to Benidorm and ordering pints of lager and bacon, egg and chips in English is a form of education.

You have a good point about stress and family time but the school holidays are there for that and there are enough of them to allow families to organise accordingly. The rules are the rules and everyone knows them so why all the fuss?