Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jetting off in Term Time? Numbers of Parents Being Fined Rising

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jetting off in Term Time? Numbers of Parents Being Fined Rising

Article excerpt

Byline: ALICE CACHIA and MIKE BROWN news@gazettemedia.co.uk

MORE Teessiders than ever are being fined for taking their children out of school to go on holiday.

New figures published by the Department for Education reveal 3,019 fines were handed to parents in the area in 2017/18.

That is up from 1,199 fines issued the previous year and is at the highest level since 2013/14, when modern records began.

Parents have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school, but if they don't, schools can request the local authority issues a parent with a "fixed penalty notice".

This is a fine of PS60 if paid within 21 days - an amount that rises to PS120 if paid between 22 and 28 days - potentially netting local councils hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If the money goes unpaid then the local authority can begin the process of prosecuting parents.

The DFE said the rise could be down to a number of high profile court cases that "may have affected trends in recent years".

It was revealed in March last year that there'd been a sharp spike in the number of fines handed to parents on Teesside, after a dad lost a Supreme Court battle against term-time holiday penalties.

Isle of Wight dad Jon Platt gained national headlines when he aimed to strike a blow for parents everywhere by challenging a PS120 fine for taking his six-year-old daughter to Disney World for a week.

He had initially won a High Court battle which prompted Middlesbrough and Stockton councils to suspend punishing parents for taking their children away during the school holidays.

But after the Supreme Court ruled against him in April last year, local authorities on Teesside began to hand out fines once more.

Most of the fines handed to mums and dads in Teesside were because of unauthorised family holidays (2,755). …

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