Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Suffolk: Number of fines issued for parents who allow their children to miss school rises by almost 500% in five years

06:44 21 August 2014

Some parents are letting their children miss school to go on holiday

Some parents are letting their children miss school to go on holiday

The number of fines issued to parents in Suffolk for allowing their children to miss school has risen by almost 500% in the last five years, it can be revealed.

shares

Figures show 303 fines for unauthorised absences were handed out to parents between September and July, compared with just 61 in 2009/10.

The number of fines issued for taking children on holiday during term-time trebled in four years – from 15 in 2009/10 to 46 in 2012/13.

Data was not released for the last academic year, but it comes amid a controversial government crackdown designed to stop parents taking their children on cheaper family holidays outside of the traditional summer break.

Rules imposed by former education secretary Michael Gove last September ban parents from taking their children out of school unless the circumstances are “exceptional”. Previously, headteachers had the discretion to allow up to 10 days of authorised absence.

Those who ignore the ban face a £120 fine for each child. It is £60 if paid within 28 days. Those who refuse to pay face prosecution, three months in prison and a £2,500 fine.

According to the Suffolk County Council figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, one in every five fines in Suffolk was for children being taken on holiday during term-time.

The hardening of the stance against absenteeism was designed to stop families damaging their children’s education. But parent groups claim the stance is too draconian and leave families paying top prices for trips during the school holiday season. Others argue headteachers are applying them too strictly and insist no guidance has been given to schools on what “exceptional” means.

Schools are taking a tougher line because poor attendance records are marked down by inspectors.

Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers, said: “There are tremendous pressures on schools in terms of exam results and the league table, and some headteachers are being forced into putting parents through the courts with fines. That is not the way to resolve the situation. Parents should be educated, not punished. The fine system is not working and is discriminatory because it has a bigger impact on lower paid families.”

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk’s cabinet member for education and skills, said she understood it can sometimes seem “necessary or desirable” to take children out of school, adding: “We have an excellent education welfare service in Suffolk and our staff work hard with parents on the need to ensure their children are in school.

“Sometimes tough action is needed to enforce the point that a child’s education must always come first. If parents, teachers and headteachers combine their efforts in discouraging truancy, educational standards in Suffolk will improve.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We have increased fines for truancy and encouraged schools to address the problem earlier, and are giving schools the flexibility to set their own term times to better suit pupils and parents.”

shares

2 comments

  • I would suggest as a way of reversing this decision that all parents vote against the tories and lie dems !, Politicians are supposed to be REPRESENTING the public not DICTATING to them !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • Schools are far too self important these days since they started calling themselves things like "Power Victory Hero Academy". They play a vital part in education, but they are not the exclusive providers. Most of the important lessons in life are learned from life experiences and from family.

    Report this comment

    Tamara Knight

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Nearly 14,000 people flocked to the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion during the first three months of its re-opening. Photo: Su Anderson

The new owners of Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion are celebrating after it was revealed thousands have flocked to see shows at the recently re-opened venue.

A motorist drove into a wall in Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, on Wednesday 27th April.

An alleged drink driver crashed his BMW 525 estate into a wall and collided with three other vehicles in Sidegate Lane yesterday afternoon.

Keith Sadler at his home in Stowmarket.

A singer-songwriter from Suffolk whose life turned in a different direction due to health problems has released an album.

Candidates Tim Passmore, Cath Pickles, Helen Korfanty, Terence Carter and Simon Tobin all signed the pledge.

All five candidates running for Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner role have signed a pledge to end sexual violence against women and girls in the county.

Kevin Keen, who has left his post as manager of Colchester United this afternoon

On Sleeping Giants this week, we discuss Colchester United’s next move, the Whizzinator, sporting cheats and painful moments.

Suffolk County Council's chief executive Deborah Cadman

The union representing the largest number of staff at Suffolk County Council has called for all employees at the authority to be given the same pay rise as chief executive Deborah Cadman.

Joe and Ruth Lubbock celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary this week.

Suffolk couple Joseph and Ruth Lubbock are today celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. LYNNE MORTIMER meets them as they mark three-quarters of a century as Mr and Mrs Lubbock.

Dog walking

Weather for the weekend is looking chilly but fair so why not head out for a stroll with your canine friend and enjoy some Suffolk pub hospitality while you’re there.

crazy-weather-in-suffolk-today_2016-4-26_31626_68671

Changeable is the best way to describe the weather this week, with bright sunshine one moment and hail storms the next - but expect warmer days this bank holiday weekend.

The former Croydons building

Hopes are rising that up-market Jack Wills could soon be on its way to Ipswich town centre.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24