Hundreds of fines issued to Wakefield parents for taking children on holiday in term-time

Hundreds of fines have been issued to Wakefield parents in the last five months for taking their children out of school in term-time.

Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 2:09 pm

Figures released by Wakefield Council today, show 356 fines have been issued since September.

Marium Haque, Wakefield Council’s programme manager for inclusion, said: “Government guidance is clear that term-time holidays should be discouraged. If schools were to give permission to all parents for term-time holidays, it could impact negatively on the performance of pupils in the school. Therefore, most schools follow the Government’s guidance of only approving this type of absence in exceptional circumstances.

“If a school or academy receives a request from parents to take a child out of school, it is the responsibility of the head teacher and school governors to decide if the request meets the criteria for exceptional circumstances.

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“Wakefield Council offers advice on individual cases to make sure that the school is acting within the law and if there are no mitigating circumstances for a child or children being taken out of school the Council will issue a fine on behalf of the school.”

Between September 2012 and September 2013, 732 fines were issued.

Prior to September 1 last year, headteachers could grant up to 10 days leave a year for family holidays in “special circumstances”.

Parents fighting the ban say families cannot afford to go on holiday during school breaks because of the steep prices, and that not all businesses will permit their staff to have time off during the school holidays.

But the DfE said schools now have more freedom to set their term dates outside of the usual school holidays times.

In October, the Express reported how thousands of people had signed a national petition demanding that the government reverses a ban on school children taking term-time holidays.

The petition hosted on the 38-Degrees Campaigns By You website, now has 300,000 signatures.