fines for holidays.

(52 Posts)
engiebengy Wed 03-Jul-13 22:34:28

has anyone had a fine for taking their children out of school? We took ours out for week after half term for family holiday and have now received letters fining us both, separately for each child. ie two children, each have to pay £60 each per child. Total £240 ! is this normal practice. We are unmarried and therefore have different names but obviously same address. I cannot find anything relating to this fining scheme anywhere.
My children are yrs 8 and 9 both with otherwise %100 attendance and on or above all their grades in all subjects!

BartBaby Tue 16-Jul-13 21:06:53

Found this. It mentions the 2007 regulation fines to be £60. Although i have never heard of it before.

keepsmiling12345 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:00:35

Sorry, standard practice where we live

Mum2Fergus Sat 03-Aug-13 22:10:58

Yep...DP is a secondary school teacher and his school does same thing.

Weelady77 Tue 13-Aug-13 21:59:49

We don't have that practice in Scotland thank god as were away in 5 weeks!

applepieplease Fri 16-Aug-13 00:11:35

I am afraid this is standard practice now as headteachers no longer have any discretion in authorising holidays. The local authority now take the matter into their own hands.

Ruprekt Fri 16-Aug-13 00:13:13

Yep. Standard practice.

And quite right too. smile

Phoebe47 Thu 22-Aug-13 16:26:39

Cannot agree with you Ruprekt. I think every family should be allowed one weeks holiday in term time per year. Not everyone can afford to go at the dearest time and so they miss out. Failing that, the government should bring in restrictions on holiday companies so that the prices are standard throughout the year - no huge increase in school holidays. Oh and the price should be based on an average of the current school holiday price and the cheapest price at other times of the year.That would solve the problem very neatly. The holiday companies are just being greedy and allowed to get away with it so holidays are becoming a thing of the past for many families who cannot afford the current school holidays cost. I have suffered from this all my married life as my husband works in a school - not a teacher. Fortunately our family have enjoyed bucket and spade holidays here at home and sometimes in France but could never do anything more exotic due to cost during the school holidays.

meditrina Thu 22-Aug-13 16:43:12

If you can persuade your HT that your circumstances are exceptional, then leave can still be authorised. And I think it's right that discretion rests solely with the HT, as that makes it easier for parents to make their case to someone who already knows (or can easily discover) the family/circumstances.

You can be fined for any unauthorised absences, not specifically holidays.

WeAreEternal Thu 22-Aug-13 16:45:24

At our school it is £Xx per child per parent, so you get fined twice for each child whether you are married or not.

SquigletPie Fri 27-Sep-13 10:29:58

I wonder if anyone has argued the legality of distinguishing between 1 and 2 parent families? Surely if a 2 parent family get fined twice as much that is discrimination? Why should a family receive a larger fine simply because the parents are together??
I for one would be straight on to my solicitor and have a feeling this might be a case making its way to European courts if a family were determined enough.

SquigletPie Fri 27-Sep-13 10:32:32

Or rather not just that the parents are together but both contactable. Either way seems blatant discrimination to me.

shellingtonboots Fri 27-Sep-13 10:40:57

But how does the local authority find out about the unauthorised absence?

Does the school still have to actually tell them about it? So does the school still have some element of discretion, despite distancing themselves from the fines??

SquigletPie Fri 27-Sep-13 10:42:30

From a different perspective Traveller Absences have their own absence code for schools and it counts as authorised absence. No fines applicable except where a child has attended less than 200 sessions (equal to 100 days/20 weeks of a minimum 39 week school year) in a 12 month period and then legal proceedings may commence - no on the spot fine for them but an opportunity to defend their right for their child not to be in school.

How is that acceptable? There is no guarantee that the time spent travelling is beneficial to the child, that they receive any education whilst travelling and therefore surely it should be no more acceptable that a non Traveller child travelling with their family?

I am not taking a stand against Travellers but rather the arbitrary discrimination that effects schooling.

bsc Fri 27-Sep-13 11:00:35

Shellington-ALL schools that receive DfE funding are obliged to report attendance and absence to DfE.
No choice, it is a condition of funding.

SquigletPie Fri 27-Sep-13 11:08:41

I think what Shellington is suggesting is that schools do not have to mark the absence as unauthorised but could code it differently.

Whilst I would applaud any school for taking a common sense approach against the 'one size fits all' government stance, Ofsted might notice when reviewing the registers the frequent authorised absence - completely missing the child who is being kept at home repeatedly by abusive/neglectful parents and supposedly 'ill,' who the school have failed flag also, but notice the family who take their child on holiday once a year during time no doubt!

shellingtonboots Fri 27-Sep-13 11:17:10

I only ask because I know someone who is taking their child out for one day. She was told that, although it would go down as unauthorised, she wouldn't be fined.

So I'm wondering whether that's because a) the school wouldn't grass her up; b) it's only one day or c) they only go after parents at schools with persistent 'offenders'?

leylandii Fri 27-Sep-13 11:31:11

3 days or more for the fine.

And i totoally disagree with fining for hols.

shellingtonboots Fri 27-Sep-13 11:59:18

Aha, thanks!

I disagree with fines too, but I wouldn't take mine out of school for hols.

Theas18 Fri 27-Sep-13 12:27:42

All very well to disagree with fines for holiday but It's still missed learning time and ultimately chunks of the curriculum they may miss altogether.

I'm aware that Mumsnet kids are so bright and able and always attend otherwise this can't possibly impact on their education, but this doesn't apply to the majority of children....

Dare I say it also gives you children the impression that school isn't theat important either as it's OK not to go if you've some thing " nice" to do?

Doubletroublemummy2 Tue 15-Oct-13 17:15:05

I wonder if any one has ever tried to contest this in court because reading the related legislation it says nothing about the penalty being applicable to parents who remove their child for a limited period on one occasion.

The education act reads as follows

(1)If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. .
[F1(1A)If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails he is guilty of an offence.]

I would argue that one week not in school does not irregular make?!

and the Education and Inspections Act 2006 section 103 to which this relates deals with excluded pupils.

springygirl Mon 21-Oct-13 15:52:48

I think it is time for a re think on school holidays overall.
I wonder if it would be feasible to stagger the school holidays by dividing the country up into zones? This is done in France (which I know is a lot larger) but surely it would be worth looking at?
It would almost certainly make the holiday companies lives more tricky when deciding dates for putting their costs through the roof!?

Families who have to go without a holiday are likely to suffer higher rates of stress. This is something schools need to consider in my estimation.

Any thoughts?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Oct-13 15:56:43

What about step families then, are the step parents fined too, or both biological parents whether married or not, living together or not.

5madthings Mon 21-Oct-13 16:00:15

We took our boys out of school for a week, true schools told us they woudldnt authorize it but also said they wouldn't fine us.

Did you not ask the school for permission or speak to them before you went?

5madthings Mon 21-Oct-13 16:05:55

The schools...

OddBoots Mon 21-Oct-13 16:06:56

There is a bit about it here

"The 2007 regulations set out the procedures for issuing penalty notices (fines) to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school or fails to ensure that their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion. Parents must pay £60 if they pay within 28 days; or £120 if they pay within 42 days.

Amendments to 2007 regulations will reduce the timescales for paying a penalty notice. Parents must, from 1 September 2013, pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days."

tintingirl Sat 16-Nov-13 00:43:24

Replying to an earlier message - the idea that parents should be able to take their kids out for a week a year is unreasonable. Students missing time creates real problems for teachers, especially in exam years.

Students miss essential work and the teacher either has to try and catch them up in class (at the expense of the other 27 kids in the room) or they have to use lunchtimes and after school teaching them what they have missed - at the expense of marking, planning, running a club or working with students who are are struggling.

The average secondary teacher teaches 250 students in any given week, so if all were 'allowed' a week off, in any given week you would have 6 or 7 students who needed to catch up - and these could be from different classes/year groups so would all need individual attention to catch up.

I hate it when students go away in term time and parents say 'they promise to catch up on work!'. It's self centred and shows no appreciation that the student will need individual item with me in my own time or in time which should be used for other purposes.

If students are sick and off school I have no problem and am happy to help them catch up. But not when they've been sunning themselves on a cheap week in Spain.

Daykin Sat 16-Nov-13 00:52:02

It's going to cost me £480 in fines to go to my best friends wedding. It's a Friday in July when they will be doing fuck all work.

lljkk Sat 16-Nov-13 02:32:06

Has that amount been confirmed, Daykin? How many kids for just the one day??
I am pulling my hair out about trying to go visit my family next yr. The only good option is what I had planned for the last 3.5 yrs, all other dates suck for most of the reasons why we would bother going at all.

Daykin Sat 16-Nov-13 19:18:33

4 kids, 2 parents. Afaik the £60 is per parent per child and possibly per day but I've also heard it said that it's the same fine for a period of time so you could take them out for the week for the same money. Bargain, except I only want a day. We can't have holidays together as DP can't really get time off during holiday time, and we just suck it up but when you can't go to a wedding or funeral or anything at all that happens on a weekday during term time for the 13+ years that you have a child in education it really sucks.

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 10:17:57

tintingirl - you are taking no account of people like me. I cannot take time off in school holidays ever. neither can my staff who all have kids too. the only option if we want a family holiday is to take them out of school during term time. we have done this in the past with full consultation with the heads. we ask them what dates would be most convenient for the school and that is when we go. and we do catch up - photocopied notes (from other pupils they buddy up with) which are then e mailed to us nightly for the children to read. now we face the prospect of never, ever having a family holiday again. is this fair and reasonable? shouldn't the head decide not Mr Gove? are teachers incapable of making these decisions and have to be told by Mr Gove what to do? no mention here of the religious exemption either. if it is for religious reasons you are allowed to go with no fine. so daykin if you could couch it in those terms " we are devout (insert religion name here ) and our religion says we have to go to weddings"

Daykin Mon 18-Nov-13 11:48:09

I might try that, as ridiculous as it seems. We are Catholic, the school is Catholic, the bride is Catholic and Godmother to all the children. It's the religious wedding we are gong to (abroad - actually on a Saturday but we need to travel on Friday, come back on Sunday for school on Monday.) The registry office wedding is a fortnight before in the UK so we can go without any probe, except we went invited. It bride + groom plus brides sis and cousin as witnesses.
The wedding is in a beautiful and historic European city. It would be lovely to have an extra day to see it but thats not likely to happen.

AugustaProdworthy Mon 18-Nov-13 11:50:15

but do you get a criminal record for a FPN? Or is it a civil matter and not strictly criminal?
Why, if you are going to get a fine, would you tell school you took them on holiday? How could they possibly check?

AuntieStella Mon 18-Nov-13 11:58:13

"shouldn't the head decide not Mr Gove?"

It is the head who decides. That is written into law.

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 12:26:12

auntiestella - your answer sounds good in theory but isn't the case in practice. heads have to adhere to their LEA's policy. LEA's are told by the govt what to do. also there are other threads on MN where schools have been told by Ofsted that their absences will be taken into account during the inspection. the head teacher can only grant leave for religious reasons or in "exceptional circumstances" and the legislation specifically states that this is not thought to include holidays. the old rule where 10 days could be granted has gone. to prove exceptional circumstances depends on which area you live in. there are cases of people being denied leave for funerals etc. some areas/ LEA's / schools are using common sense over this and others are not. the law might say that it is at the H/T discretion but if she/he is told that by coding too many of these their Ofsted will be affected or they will be in trouble with the LEA then they aren't going to do it are.

AuntieStella Mon 18-Nov-13 12:30:59

The LEA has no locus in this, and if they are saying they do then they are misrepresenting the legal position.

What an individual head wants to do with their discretionary powers is totally up to him/her. If they want to pretend it's all about LEA or OFSTED, they can. But none of that changes the powers given to them in law to use their own discretion to decide what is exceptional, and to authorise any length of absence.

If the head decides not to authorise for a funeral, it is because that is what sort of head they want to be. Their hands are not tied by anyone else, no matter how much they might want to 'blame' a third party for their own unpopular decision.

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 13:15:24

how do you know this Auntiestella? if there is something in law, or on a website somewhere supporting this then I would be really grateful if you could tell me. currently having a huge battle to sort out some leave so that we can go away as a family.

Mirage Mon 18-Nov-13 13:19:35

We have just been given permission to take the dds out of school next May.It will be authorised but our LEA aren't fining.Thank goodness our head is sensible.

AuntieStella Mon 18-Nov-13 13:33:22

Department of Education website page about attendance - with links to the legislation.

But bear in mind that a lot of HTs like this new version, and just because the final say rests with them it does not mean that they will exercise their discretion in your favour. The only advice (and it is just that, advice not binding instruction) on when they should authorise term time holidays is for Forces families when a parent is returning from an operational tour (in Military Covenant documents, not Dof Ed ones).

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 13:34:25

what was that for Mirage? if you can share without outing yourself. was it for a holiday? how old are your dd's? did you have to show exceptional circumstances? just wondering as if you are in an industry like mine where we cannot take time off during school hols ever then this could be common sense breaking out.

mummymeister Mon 18-Nov-13 13:36:55

thanks auntiestella - very familiar with this page. there is a lot of talk about H/T discretion but some of the stuff I have seen from the LEA is along the lines of "we will look at how each and every absence is coded and ask you to justify this and why you granted exceptional rather than refused" also trying to get hold of the Ofsted guidance others have mentioned.

Mirage Mon 18-Nov-13 18:22:45

No,I don't mind saying.We've been saving for years to take the dds [8 and 10] to Florida.DH works in the tourist industry and is unable to take more than a week off in term time normally but had been granted permission from work to take 2 weeks for this trip.I work in horticulture and farming so could only go after lambing and before haymaking,which left us with May.

DH spoke to the HT,and explained that providing we can book the flights,we will tag it onto half term so they miss as little school as possible.The HT spoke to the governors and has said he will authorise it as the girls attendance is excellent.My sister works in a nearby school and has had her time off to accompany us authorised too.Both schools are academies which may make a difference.As they have opted out of the LEA,they would have to pay for the services of the Truant Officer,and as any fines don't go to the school,it costs the school money to pursue parents through the courts.We are lucky it seems.

theredhen Thu 16-Jan-14 01:02:22

In answer to the question about separated families.

The biological parents will BOTH be fined for each child.

Even if one biological parent has no contact with the child.

That's the theory anyway, not sure how it works in practice.

myhandslooksoold Sun 23-Mar-14 15:48:30

I have spoken to my local MP again about the term time leave policy and asked her to pursue it further on my behalf. I have asked her what we can do to keep the issue live. She says the best thing you can do is write to your MP. So write, and write again if you can! My MP says she will speak to Michael Gove and others in government, she is also looking to put the issue on the Labour manifesto for the next election. I have written to Mr Gove also. Keep pestering if you believe parents are fit to make their own decisions about their own children!!!

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 15:58:41

On a similar thread, someone mentioned a system (France I think) whereby term dates rotate. So the school holidays run from something like June to September. Apparently, the result was that holiday prices were more consistent throughout the year. Sounded like a good idea to me. Kids missing school is not a good thing. And anyone who cares about children's education is right to think of ways to keep them in school. Try lobbying for something that allows more reasonable holidays prices without kids having to miss school.

myhandslooksoold Sun 23-Mar-14 20:33:08

Nkf if only life was as neat so that we could all fit holiday time in school holiday time. This is not just about holiday pricing, this is about allowing parents and headteachers to work together to balance the needs of education with the need for a life outside school. The system before worked well, teachers could grant leave as needed for important events that have to take place during term time.

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 20:47:10

It didn't work that well. Tons of parents thought they were entitled to 10 days a year. You see that view on here all the time. And head teachers often said no and parents took their kids out anyway. The previous system was abused. This one will be too. People will just add the fines to the cost of the holiday. There is tons of time for a life outside school. Thirteen weeks holidays and the weekends. And the school day finishes at 3.30pm. Of course there are a few special occasions. Those will probably be allowed if the parents are reasonable and the kids have normally good attendance. But to listen to some people, every Centreparc trip is an unmissable family bonding experience. And anyone who says kids should be in school is Mr Gradgrind.

myhandslooksoold Sun 23-Mar-14 21:01:57

I think you just defeated your own argument by saying the previous system was abused and this one will be too. The fact that (in your opinion) a system doesn't work is no reason for replacing it with an even more unworkable and flawed one. I could argue about this with you till the cows come home. I feel extremely strongly about this and 200,000 odd people agree and have signed a petition to this effect. I just wanted to tell people who feel as strongly about this that the fight isn't over as long as we keep complaining about it.

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 21:32:01

I wasn't actually arguing for lower holiday prices. I was pointing out that France apparently has a holiday system that avoids the intense crowds and inflated prices for key weeks. At least that's what I remember from another thread.

I do think it's better to make it less appealing to take children out of school during term time. On these threads, people are forever arguing that they know best. They don't really want partnerships with headteachers and schools. They want to do what suits them.

I still think most reasonable parents will get their genuinely important holidays. Those who just want an extra week's holiday every year will have to rethink. Or pay up. The fines will probably rise too.

myhandslooksoold Sun 23-Mar-14 21:50:31

People are forever arguing that they know best because as parents they DO know best. Do you really think the government knows how to raise our children better than we do and that we should be punished by fines when we fail to do as we are told?

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 22:00:58

I don't think the quality of parenting is the issue. It's what missed days at school do to children's education. Governments don't enquire into Mrs MNs's child. They look at the information that suggests pretty strongly that missed days means lower attainment. And all that that implies over a lifetime.

Children have a right to an education. It's the law. The law says that children should be in schools on certain days of the year. And that you can have some days off for very good reasons. You can tell from reading threads on here that parents have widely different views about what constitutes a good reason to keep a child off school. I daresay they all think they know what's best. Do you think they're all right?

EdithWeston Sun 23-Mar-14 22:06:10

Look at the date of first post here. It's a demonstration that holidays were not universally authorised even before the latest changes (nor was it ever intended that they should be).

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