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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!

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?

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