Fines are back if you skip school for term time family holidays

Cllr Alex Bulat and Cllr Bryony Goodliffe (Chair of Children & Young People Committee)

Cllr Alex Bulat and Cllr Bryony Goodliffe (Chair of Children & Young People Committee) visiting a children's centre in Cambridge "to see the wonderful work done by the team there". - Credit: Cambridge Labour Party

Fines have been re-introduced by Cambridgeshire County Council for unauthorised absences including pupils skipping school for family holidays in term time.  

And parents and carers were also warned that any children arriving at school once the attendance register is closed will be deemed as absent. 

Education director Jonathan Lewis said it was important for everyone not to be late for registration.  

“Missing 10 minutes a day over the year equates to 6.3 days education being lost,” he said. 

His get-tough message comes in the wake of a moratorium on fines during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Now schools have been re-opened, Mr Lewis said the Government has made it clear that all pupils should be going to school regularly. 

“Regular school attendance is very important in giving your child the best possible start in life,” he said. 

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“Children who miss school frequently can fall behind with their work and not perform as well in exams. 

He said any application for leave can only be granted by the headteacher – and only in exceptional circumstances.  

“Any parent who believes their circumstances are exceptional should discuss it with their child’s school first before making travel arrangements or allowing their child to be absent from school,” said Mr Lewis.  

He warned that irregular school attendance, unauthorised term-time leave and late arrival at school, can attract a variety of enforcement actions - including the Penalty Notice fines and prosecution. 

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee said: “The vast majority of parents support their child’s full attendance at school. 

“They recognise the significant impact this can have on their child’s education and their life chances.  

“Unfortunately, there are a few who do not recognise this.” 

Cllr Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University said: “Term time holidays and late arrival at school are not acceptable.  

“It is unfair on the child and their teachers, disrupts the child’s education and can ultimately be harmful to the child’s progress.  

“Now that schools are fully open again there is no excuse for irregular or incomplete attendance in the classroom.”