Parents to pay nearly £1,000 for taking children out of school for holidays

Cambridge Magistrates' Court

Cambridge Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

Taking their children out of school three times in a year to save money going on holiday has landed parents from Huntingdon with a court bill of nearly £1,000.

The parents of two primary-aged children ended up in court where they admitted failing to ensure regular school attendance for the youngsters after Cambridgeshire County Council took action against them.

The county council had previously issued two penalty notice fines to the parents who had told school staff it was cheaper to pay the £60 fine for each child than go on holiday in the peak season.

But the repeated fines did not stop the family from taking the children, who go to a local primary school, on a third holiday in a single academic year so the council issued them with a summons to appear in court.

The parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted charges of failure to ensure regular school attendance at the hearing before Cambridge magistrates and were each fined £147, ordered to pay £150 costs and a £30 victim surcharge per child, totalling £948.

Cllr Simon Bywater, chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “We take cases like this extremely seriously. This outcome should make these parents realise the importance of sending children to school regularly and make them think twice next year when they consider taking them on holiday during term time.

“Regular attendance at school is crucial for a child’s education, not only do these actions cause disruption for children being taken out of school but also their classmates.”

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Cllr Bywater added: “This should serve as a warning to all parents who think they can flout the law by taking their children out of school during term time. If people think the rules don’t apply to them, we will clamp down and take further action if needed.”

The government removed powers from head teachers in 2016 to authorise holiday during term time unless leave of absence is required for exceptional circumstances.

The issuing of penalty notice fines is an enforcement action used by Local Authorities to deter parents taking holiday during term time.