To ask if anyone has successfully appealed against a fine for taking kids out of school during term time....

(39 Posts)
NotAClueReally3 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:47:31

.... And if so if you have any pointers?
My friend has asked me to help her draft a letter. She took her two kids out of school for a week for a close family members' wedding overseas (long haul). Council want her to pay £60 per child per parent, so £240 in total.
I seem to remember a case in the news where a guy took his council to court and won, so I'm wondering if this constitutes some kind of precedent? FWIW her ds had 100% attendance last year and letter (and fine) goes to council not school.

OzzieFem Mon 01-Feb-16 18:23:03

Has your friend checked on her council website regarding these fines? I know UK local councils can charge 60 pounds for each child but each parent? Somehow I doubt that applies. That discriminates against a two parent family.

DamsonInDistress Mon 01-Feb-16 18:28:48

Yes it applies to each parent and the recent case was on the Isle of Wight I believe but still only reiterated the point of law that headteachers do in fact have discretion (I think). If the head refuses permission I'm not sure what grounds for appeal need to be satisfied to have a chance of winning. Ultimately I suspect the fine will stand and your friend should have planned for how to afford it when she made the decision to defy the head.

DisappointedOne Mon 01-Feb-16 18:30:10

The guy who went to court spent around £1000 doing it.......

mummymeister Mon 01-Feb-16 18:32:48

sorry ozziefem but the rules say £60 per parent per child. imagine what that is like when only one parent takes the child and the other doesn't agree. £240 for 2 kids is what it is.

sorry to say that writing a letter wont cut it. they wont change their minds no matter what she writes. the only way of getting out of the fine is if she goes to court and gets them to find in her favour. the risk in this if they find against her she will be hammered with costs. also to do a decent defence job she will need some professional help which doesn't come cheap. The man who won had more money than sense and threw it at this case to make a point and embarrass the government. he won but nothing has changed.

the questions she needs to ask herself are do I have a cast iron case? did she ask for leave and get refused or did she just go. can she find a policy from the school and the LEA that supports her. she needs also to refer to the NUT policies and stance on this.

basically, though if I am being brutally honest she is screwed and will have to pay the fine. she must have known this was coming and should have budgeted for it.

FWIW I would also write to her MP and let them know what is happening as well as the school etc.

please also advise her that if she ever does it again it will be more than a fine next time as she will be a repeat offender.

the system stinks but no one is doing anything to change it. sorry. not exactly the ray of hope you were probably looking for but just trying to be realistic.

bornwithaplasticspoon Mon 01-Feb-16 18:57:07

I don't agree with the fines but if you take your child on holiday in term time you should factor in the cost of the fine and pay up.

TheSnowFairy Mon 01-Feb-16 19:34:52

How old are the children?

VoldysGoneMouldy Mon 01-Feb-16 19:38:00

Why did she not ask the school to authorize it in advance? Head teachers currently still have some power over what counts as exceptional circumstances.

Wolfiefan Mon 01-Feb-16 19:41:08

In her situation I would ask Head for advance. If permission was refused then I'd go anyway. (Not for any old holiday but for a close family member wedding I would.)
But I'd accept there could well be a fine and factor in the cost.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 01-Feb-16 19:46:49

What I don't get about this, is it seems such a lottery.
We take out children out fir a week each year to visit family long haul, and we have always had it authorised. We've got it authorised for 2017 too. So, 4 years on the trot.
Did she attempt to get it authorised?

HighwayDragon1 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:51:06

In our borough you're fined if your attendance dips too low so a week out of 100%wouldn't trigger anything, but a week out of <95% would

fedup21 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:55:00

In my LEA, they don't issue fines unless you take the children out of school for over a week.

joeyno1 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:55:11

Following this with interest as I am just about to write to the head at dd's school to ask permission to take her out for a week in June to attend my brothers wedding abroad. Hoping not to get a fine in these circumstances, and given the fact she will still be 4 at the time (August baby) but if we do get fined our school is also £60 per child per parent.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 01-Feb-16 19:58:55

arethereanyleft schools aren't allowed by law to authorise term time holidays, only leave for exceptional circumstances.

The man who won his court case did so because once the legal process begins school have to prove irregular attendance, not just that unauthorised leave was taken.
So a week in an otherwise unblemished record may not take the attendance percentage low enough to prove this.

NotAClueReally3 Mon 01-Feb-16 20:00:19

Thanks for replies. Kids are in reception and year two, they're seven and five. The head said no and they went anyway. Doesn't look like there's much of a leg to stand on....

VoldysGoneMouldy Mon 01-Feb-16 20:01:20

Here it's £60, per child, per parent, per day.

I don't necessarily agree with the fines, but they are public knowledge.

VoldysGoneMouldy Mon 01-Feb-16 20:05:36

Cross post.

If she asked permission and was told no, pretty tough really. Most schools would, quite rightly, say a week off school is a lot of work to miss.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 01-Feb-16 20:05:40

More crack - they must consider a holiday to see family as exceptional leave then, because that's what I write on the form, and that is indeed what gets authorised.

As others have said, if your dc are 100% attendance otherwise (mine are) then 5 days seems to be fine.

Op - it looks like your friend has been unlucky, but will have to pay the fine.

snorepatrol Mon 01-Feb-16 20:10:33

Not sure if this link will work

www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/holidays-school-term-time-ruling-10279022#ICID=FB-MEN-main

Noeuf Mon 01-Feb-16 20:11:18

You can't appeal a fine. The LA after a period of non payment make a decision to drop it or take you to court for failing to secure regular attendance under one of two charges. There are statutory defences and you can't bring in other information.

DangerMouth Mon 01-Feb-16 20:14:39

mummy what happens to repeat offenders? We will be going to Australia for Christmas this year for the first time in 7 years. I'll do it again but not for a few years - l can't find any real info about fines etc.

Fwiw l am prepared to pay the fine as l think dd1 getting to spend a Christmas with her grandparents in another country is worth it, even if the head doesn't.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 01-Feb-16 22:29:42

I am an Attendance Officer.
You can only be fined once in any academic year but if the leave is unauthorised and more than 5 days in any one term (the absences don't have to be taken as one 'chunk') school can request a penalty notice.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Mon 01-Feb-16 22:35:55

Joey if your DC is 4 you can't be fined as far as I know because education is only compulsory from the term following a childs 5th birthday.

NickiFury Mon 01-Feb-16 22:47:49

I keep hearing this " it's £60 per parent, per child, per day" assertion here on MN. But MN is the only place I hear it and you'd think that we'd have heard of a family being charged £1000's for taking their child out wouldn't you? what with the amount of fuss that's made about these fines in general I think we'd certainly have had some confirmation of this in the press somewhere.

I've done a LOT of research on this and looked at the regulations for at least 15 boroughs and they ALL say the same thing that is £60 per period of absence, which could be one day or it could be five days but not every day of the period of absence. I've occasionally read that they would be unlikely to fine at all if the absence doesn't exceed five days but otherwise the regulations are all the same

I'd be interested to know where these people live who claim it's £120 a day fine for one child with a total of £600 for a weeks holiday and £1200 for two children because I don't believe it's true.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 01-Feb-16 23:19:18

It is £60 per parent, per child.
So for a family of 2 patents and 2 children it would be £240. This doubles if not paid within 21 days.

If the Penalty Notice Is not paid he Council can pursue patents through legal channels for irregular attendance and all the associated costs that incurs.

The fine is the same whether the absence is 5 days or 20. Less than 5 days cannot incur a fine, though 5 seperate days throughout a term period can.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now