Term-time holidays – how many fines has each school issued?

How many parents at your child's school have been fined?
How many parents at your child's school have been fined?

It is a dilemma for parents – should you take your children out of school for a family holiday during term-time?

If you do, you run the risk of a £60 fine if you admit what you are doing. However, the inflated price of breaks during the peak summer weeks, means many are willing to pay up because it still works out cheaper for them.

The league table

The league table

But the number of fines issued in Bridlington varies dramatically from school to school.

The Free Press made a request under the Freedom of Information Act, asking how many parents have been fined at 14 schools in and around the Bridlington area, over the last four years.

The statistics, supplied by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, show that Headlands School pupils are the most likely to see their parents landed with a bill.

But none of the parents at New Pasture Lane Primary, which has seven classes, have had to pay the £60 since the start of the 2013/14 academic year.

In total, more than 730 fines have been issued in that time to people in Bridlington.

If all were paid in full at the earliest opportunity, that means almost £44,000 has been added to the coffers at County Hall.

Explaining why the punishments are dished out, a statementfrom East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “Since a change to legislation in September 2013, headteachers cannot authorise absence from school purely for the purpose of a term-time holiday.

“There has to be an exceptional circumstance for head teachers to authorise absence.

“If a child accrues 10 sessions of unauthorised absence in a specific time period the head teacher can refer this to the local authority for consideration of issuing a penalty notice.

“On receipt of this, the local authority checks referrals against the issuing criteria, set down in the Code of Conduct, and issues notices to each person with day-to-day care of the child if all criteria are met.

“It is the proprietor of the school, appointed by the governing body – ordinarily the headteacher – who is responsible for authorising/unauthorising school absence and the local authority acts on referrals from this person.

“Recently, the case heard in the Supreme Court advised that children should attend school on every occasion available to them unless there was an exceptional circumstance for their absence.

“Attending school every day is very important as pupils who miss days in school fall behind and can struggle to catch up.

“If a child has 10 days absence from school for the purpose of a holiday as well as the average absence for illness each year of their academic career, by the time they reach year 11 and are sitting their exams, they will have missed a whole year of education.

“This undoubtedly affects their chances of achieving their potential.”

The council’s website explains that if a parent’s request to take their children out of school is declined, and they still take a holiday, each parent within the household will be issued with a £60 penalty notice for each child.

If that remains unpaid after 21 days, it will increase to £120.

If after 28 days, that remains unpaid, parents could be taken to court and fined up to £1,000.