School holiday warning to parents

PARENTS have been issued with the stark warning that they could be fined for taking their children on holiday without permission from their school.The new law was introduced recently by the Government and is now being promoted throughout Essex by the county council.

By Annie Davidson

PARENTS have been issued with the stark warning that they could be fined for taking their children on holiday without permission from their school.

The new law was introduced recently by the Government and is now being promoted throughout Essex by the county council.

Any parent wishing to take their child on holiday during term time must request permission in writing from the child's headteacher.


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Before making a decision the headteacher will consider factors including the pupil's attendance record, their stage of education and progress, whether exams or tests are taking place and the reason for the holiday.

But parents who take their children on holiday without official approval could be issued with a penalty notice by the Education Welfare Service.

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A penalty notice would mean a fine of £100 per parent, per child or £50 if the fine is paid within 28 days.

Iris Pummell, cabinet member for education at Essex County Council, said: "We are talking about children's education here and you only have one chance at education and if it is continually disrupted you can understand why a school becomes concerned about that.

"At the end of the day it is the headteacher and governors who say whether children can have the time off. It is down to each individual school and not the Local Education Authority."

Mrs Pummell added the county council had recently contacted all schools to remind them of the new law.

She said: "This (the law) started earlier in the year but we didn't put it in place till now and we are looking at it being ready for January."

Tendring Technology College, which has sites in Frinton-on-Sea and Thorpe-le-Soken, devoted an entire page of its weekly newsletter to outlining the new rules.

Caroline Haynes, who became principal of the school in September, said it decided to include all the information to make sure parents were informed.

Ms Haynes said: "We are really trying to make sure parents have the information that they need.

"We didn't want to interpret what Essex County Council was saying so we just thought it was best to give the parents exactly what the county council was saying."

Ms Haynes, who came to Tendring Technology College from Sir Charles Lucas arts college in Colchester, added: "We don't anticipate changing practices as we are always trying to make sure children attend school as much as they should and we work with parents to help them achieve that.

"Sometimes parents do need to take their children out of school for very legitimate reasons and they do discuss that with us.

"We don't want to come into conflict with parents, we want to work with them.

"This is not coming from us, we are passing on the information and are instruments of this as opposed to making or leading it."

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