Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

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

Police requests to access personal communications hit 26,000 across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk last year. Stock image.

Essex Police has claimed the way it uses communications data is “firm and robust” after new figures revealed they requested to access private emails and phone records nearly 20,000 times over two years.

Fire fighters called to a business building in Haughley Park.

A blaze broke out in a building in Haughley Park after an industrial light fitting fell into a pallet of frozen food.

The Buttermarket shopping centre , Ipswich.

Proposals for a multi-million pound conversion of the Buttermarket centre in the heart of Ipswich into a major new cinema and leisure-based mall are expected to be approved today.

The residents of London Road coming together to forge a new sense of community in the film London Road which receives its first public screening in Ipswich at the beginning of June. The film, direcetd by Rufus Norris, stars Olivia Colman, Anita Dobson and Tom Hardy.

The writer of a film about Ipswich murderer Steve Wright has said she did not want to follow the same path as journalists and documentary makers.

An e-fit of the suspect.

A key witness has been traced in a major police investigation into a sex attack in Bury St Edmunds.

Welcome to summer, an almost deserted promenade at Felixstowe.

Despite a miserable start to the week, warm weather is still set to come to the region this weekend.

David Fackerell, 60, of Kendall Road, Colchester

Essex Police called off the search for a man who went missing from his home in Colchester after he was found safe and well.

An 
Abellio Greater Anglia train.

Current Greater Anglia rail company Abellio faces a challenge from two former operators for the region’s new franchise which is due to start next year.

Firefighters attend Thetford blaze.

A man in his 40s has been taken to hospital after a fire in Thetford.

Road closed due to fallen tree and power lines.

The A120 was closed between Coggeshall and Marks Tey yesterday after a fallen tree brought down power cables.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages