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Fined £240 for taking kids out of school for 2 days

(62 Posts)
StayAtHomeDad1 Mon 27-Feb-17 10:29:53

We have recently received a letter from my children's primary school informing us we are being fined £240 for taking them out of school for 2 days after the recent half term. My children are 6 and 9.
We did so because we were visiting friends who live in Romania and flights from our nearest airport are only on Wednesdays. My children also had 4 days learning skiing which they loved.

I advised the school of my intention and expected it to be unauthorised but wasn't expecting to be fined for just 2 days. It seems you get fined this amount for 2 children whether it be for 2 days or 2 months!

From looking at other people's experiences online there is no recourse and no appeals process so we are stuck with having to pay.

I am arranging a meeting with the headmaster to discuss this and am fully aware that the fine cannot be undone. I just would like to know what his criteria is for deciding who to refer for fining.

My concern is that my son had a number of days off a month ago because of a very nasty chest infection. I think it would be unfair if the school is judging attendance on figures that include days off due to illness.

It's not about the money as much as the principle. If I had lied and told the school they had a stomach bug, nothing would have come of it. I was honest and got penalised. I know of a few parents that take their children out of school every year for a week or more and others that lie and say their kids are ill and take them out for a week - they will continue to get away with it.

I just wondered if anyone else has been fined for only a couple of days unauthorised absence?

TheOnlyLivingBoyinNewCork Mon 27-Feb-17 10:31:19

I wouldn't pay it. Let them take you to court, where you would probably win.

The whole thing has got out of hand.

DearMrDilkington Mon 27-Feb-17 10:31:33

Can they legally back up the fine? If not, don't pay.

Penhacked Mon 27-Feb-17 10:32:35

I would not pay either. It is robbery.

StayAtHomeDad1 Mon 27-Feb-17 10:33:27

It looks like most people lose in court and end up with higher fines and court costs.
The only ones that win are those where the Council don't get their act together in time to prepare their case withing 6 months.

I can't afford that gamble and possible extra costs.

Brollsdolls Mon 27-Feb-17 10:34:47

We took our children out of school for 2 days for a trip away. It was unauthorised, but we didn't get fined. I think their attendance was 100% until we had the time off - not sure if that made a difference?
I wouldn't pay though angry

2014newme Mon 27-Feb-17 10:35:14

It's the local authority fining you not the school.
I would just oay it. The amount will grow with Nin payment fines etc otherwise.
You had a great holiday, it's cost a bit more than you thought that's all

2014newme Mon 27-Feb-17 10:36:04

Yes they'll can "legally back up the fine" whatever that means

Sunnydaysrock Mon 27-Feb-17 10:36:57

We are requesting 2 days for holiday in may. I fully expect it to be unauthorised. I'm not sure if we'll get fined, have heard mixed stories from the 2 schools. However we are prepared for the £240 fine, still saves us over £700 on the holidayshock

2014newme Mon 27-Feb-17 10:37:45

I take mine out for a week every year unauthorised never been fined but our HT does not mind people going on holidays nobody in our school has ever been fined even two weeks at Disneyworld. But if I was fined I would just pay it and see it as part of the holidays cost

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Mon 27-Feb-17 10:39:11

The law states your dc must attend school regularly. . Refuse the fine if your dc have a good school attendance record. And tell them you will see them in court.

lottieandmia Mon 27-Feb-17 10:39:23

It's ridiculous.

Schools make the decision to report to the Local Authority or not. They don't have to.

irvineoneohone Mon 27-Feb-17 10:53:20

I would just pay it and forget about it. Kids had great holiday.
Some get fined, some get lucky. It's not new thing, everyone has been warned.

Hulababy Mon 27-Feb-17 10:58:29

Which Lea?
Our local ones only fine at 5 days plus.
I know many have the same policy unless the child had had significant absences already, esp unauthorised ones.

However you can not pay and take them to court over it. Success varies but for two days it may well be successful. I'm sure they will be people on here who can help with that process or online sites.

Qqnamechange Mon 27-Feb-17 11:01:12

You can't just not pay. And you won't win in court unless your council is spectacularly unorganised or you live in Cornwall (where I think they are more lax)

You'll just end up with a higher fine.

Pony up!

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Mon 27-Feb-17 11:04:32

I was told that we wouldn't be fined for a few days absence unless subsequently the child returned to school and then had more days off. I don't know if this is official criteria but we were told that if they went out unauthorized, and then had 6/8 weeks solid attendance, no fine would be issued. I don't think this policy is documented though?

MaryPoppinsPenguins Mon 27-Feb-17 11:07:23

I took mine out for 16 days for Disney and didn't get fined... but I was prepared to pay it. I think you have to really.

StayAtHomeDad1 Mon 27-Feb-17 11:08:13

Our LEA is North Somerset

2014newme Mon 27-Feb-17 11:12:18

Ours is north Somerset too I have never been fined however we do have 100% attendance otherwise.

NoSquirrels Mon 27-Feb-17 11:12:39

It's a bit shit. But then again, it's the known consequence of voluntarily taking your children out of school in order to have a holiday. You chose to go to a place where you couldn't get a flight back in time to return to school.
Regard it as a cost of the holiday, pay up and forget about it.
What are you hoping to achieve by a meeting with the head? Of course it is "up to the school" who they report, but equally if they do not report and are then inspected, they will be the ones in trouble for flouting the rules. Doesnt matter that the majority don't agree with the fines - it's the law. The head was just doing their job.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Mon 27-Feb-17 11:13:28

Rather than deterring spurious and continuous absences this seems to be causing stress for families with reasonable family reasons who just resignedly do the absence anyway and plan to pay up. I'm a teacher and I include reasonable family holidays in that! Obvs not six months of the year, but time together as a family with primary aged kids at a time of year that's affordable matters more than missing a few days. It's also just occurred to me this is probably proving itself as quite a nice little earner for cash strapped LAs.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Mon 27-Feb-17 12:31:44

Could you not go from another airport?

prh47bridge Mon 27-Feb-17 12:51:30

It seems you get fined this amount for 2 children whether it be for 2 days or 2 months

That is not correct. A longer absence would result in a bigger penalty. You are being fined £60 per day per child.

North Somerset's Code of Practice states that a penalty notice will only be issued if the pupil concerned has at least 10 sessions (i.e. half days) lost to unauthorised absence in the previous 6 months. In most cases there should be a warning letter before the penalty.

If the absence you report here is the only unauthorised absence your children have had in the last 6 months you should raise this with the council's Education Welfare Service and point out that the penalty notice has been issued in breach of the Code of Practice. They should withdraw it if that is the case.

However, if your children have had more than 10 sessions unauthorised absence in the last 6 months your choices are to pay or to await the decision of the Supreme Court in Isle of Wight Council v Platt. If the decision goes against Platt you will have no choice but to pay. If you do not the courts will enforce the fine. If Platt wins this may mean you will be able to avoid paying but it depends on the details of the decision. The Supreme Court may, for example, set a level of attendance below which fines can be imposed. If your children have not met that level of attendance the fine will stand.

CeciCC Mon 27-Feb-17 13:13:56

I thought the fines were £60/week per pupil. Since when are per day?

2014newme Mon 27-Feb-17 13:16:11

Since forever it's always been £60 per day.

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