Suffolk: Fines totalling £14,500 handed out to parents of children who have missed classes

Parents who take children on term-time holidays are being issued with fines

Parents who take children on term-time holidays are being issued with fines - Credit: PA

Parents have received fines totalling more than £14,500 in the last three academic years because of the unauthorised absence of their children from school, it has been revealed.

Data released through the Freedom of Information Act has shown the amount handed out decreased in 2012/13, where the figure stood at £2,750, compared to the previous year where fines totalling £4,650 were handed out.

However, for the academic year ending 2014, that figure rose sharply to £7,260, but 22 of these fines remain unpaid.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Tackling pupil absence is part of the Raising the Bar programme and by reducing the levels of absence, we’re giving pupils every chance to achieve their full potential. It is vital that all young people in Suffolk make the most of the education that is set out for them.”

Rules imposed last September ban parents from taking their children out of school unless the circumstances are ‘exceptional’.

Headteachers originally 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.

Mrs Chambers added: “Following requests from a number of schools, Suffolk County Council is now taking a stronger stance on unauthorised absences.

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“Whilst we recognise the difficulties parents face in finding affordable holidays during non-term time, parents must consider that it is a legal requirement that children are in school learning.”

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