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Term-time holiday fines treble

More than 50,000 penalties were issued last year to mums and dads for taking their children on holiday during term time

 

According to Government figures, the number of fines has more than trebled in two years, up 173% from the 18,484 handed out by local authorities in 2012/13.

The Local Government Association is calling for the current Government to end what it calls the “controversial policy” following the steep increase.

It wants the system to be changed so that individual requests can be considered with a “common sense approach”.

The body highlighted recent court cases in its appeal which it says show the existing system is not always enforceable.

Only last week, a father from the Isle of Wight won a court battle after he refused to pay a £120 school fine.

Jon Platt was handed the penalty for taking his six year-old daughter on holiday to Walt Disney World in Florida in April.

In court he successfully argued, that Section 444 of the Education Act required parents to ensure their children attended school “regularly”, and did not put restrictions on taking them on holidays in term time.

Mr Platt said: “There has been precedent set in the High Court that says that unauthorised holiday in term time is not in itself a breach of the legislation if the child has attended school regularly.

“My daughter had 100% attendance and by the end of the year but because of the holiday she had 94%. That cannot amount to a breach of legislation.”

But headteachers say that while there are times when children have to miss school, holidays are not a valid reason.

By law children must be educated between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

For more information on the current rules surrounding holidays in term time visit: www.gov.uk

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