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Term-Time Holiday Fines up to £5.6m For 90,000 Parents

By Media Executive, General Law

Term-Time Holiday Fines up to £5.6m For 90,000 Parents

Fines amounting to an estimated £5.6m have been handed to 90,000 parents for taking their children out of school to go on term-time holidays.

Councils can fine £60 per parent per child for absenteeism; this can double to £120 if not paid within three weeks and if the fine remains unpaid after four weeks of being issued parents could be prosecuted.

There have been over 21,000 cases where parents have been prosecuted, but 17,000 where the penalties have been dropped.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The rules are perfectly clear - children should not be taken out of school without good reason.

"That is why we have tightened the rules and are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence.”

The figures, which were collated after a Freedom of Information request, represent the 2014/2015 school year and reveal a 54 per cent increase from the previous year.

The Department for Education added: "The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances - vindicating our strong stance on attendance.

"A child who is absent also impacts teachers, whose planning of lessons is disrupted by children missing large portions of teaching."

However, Jon Platt, who took his daughter out of school to go to Disneyland, won his case against paying a £120 fine for absenteeism in May. This was decided in the high court after the term-time holiday father proved that his daughter attended school regularly.