150,000 families hit by fines in 2016 school year

Nearly 150,000 families were fined for taking their children out of school without permission during the last school year, new figures show

 

The fines dished out by local authorities added up to at least £8.8 million, according to figures reported by The Independent.

Data obtained from 145 councils in England also show a major disparity between individual authorities.

Suffolk and Lancashire councils reportedly issued more than 5,600 fines each, while Richmond Council did not issue a single fine.

Nine councils issued more than 3,000 fines in the 2015/16 school year, according to the figures collated by law firm Simpson Millar using freedom of information requests.

If parents break the rules, the local council can issue a fine of £60, which doubles if it remains unpaid after 21 days.

The figures were released on the same day Jon Platt lost a landmark legal battle at the UK's highest court over taking his daughter to Disney World during school term-time.

Fines are issued and collected by local authorities, and any money gleaned must be reinvested in education.

Suffolk County Council told The Independent: "Following the Supreme Court ruling, Suffolk County Council's position on school attendance remains that children should not be taken out of school without good reason.

"It is up to the headteacher to decide whether or not to authorise an absence.

"Fixed penalty notices are issued as a result of a referral from the school for unauthorised absence, in line with the attendance policy of the school and it is Suffolk County Council's policy to support schools."

"We are pleased that the Supreme Court ruling reflects our position."

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