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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Cumbrian parents facing £50 fine for taking kids out of school on holiday

The woman in charge of schooling in Cumbria is calling on parents to reconsider whether to take their children on term-time holidays.

Julia Morrison photo
Julia Morrison

Julia Morrison, director of children’s services at Cumbria County Council, has written a letter to all parents to remind them of when family holidays should be taken.

Her comments come after it emerged that parents of children who go to Brampton Primary School have been told they face being fined or even prosecuted if they take their youngsters away without approval from the headteacher first.

Mrs Morrison’s letter, available on the county council’s website, has been distributed to all schools.

In it, she states: “We advise that wherever possible, absence from school should be avoided as it can have a serious effect on your child’s educational progress.

“If, after serious consideration of this, you still propose to take your child away from school for a holiday, it is important to note that only the headteacher can authorise that absence.”

The letter warned parents they could be fined £50 if they take their pupils out of classes without approval or taken to court if they refused to pay.

Schools do have discretion to grant up to 10 days leave during term time but must consider a series of factors before doing so.

National guidelines available on www.direct.gov.uk clearly state that parents could face penalty fines of £50 if children are absent from school without permission. Penalties also rise to £100 if they are not paid within 28 days and any fine unpaid after 42 days can leave parents open to prosecution. The penalty notices can be issued by headteachers, local councils and the police.

Have your say

What vitriol Jenny! We would never get a holiday if we didn't take our children out of school. We are both self employed and work in the tourist industry so taking time off during school holidays is not an option. From March to November each year we work 6-7 days a week so see very little of our children. In November we take our kids away to somewhere where we can catch up with relaxation and spending quality family time together, which doesn't always mean going somewhere 'cultural'. We don't leave educating our kids just to the school, we take a lead roll in educating them 365 days a year.

If school holidays were negotiable it would help, alot of people have the same dilemma where we live, they mostly work in tourism....we all have to earn a living, we're just grateful to have jobs.

People need to walk a mile in other people's shoes before they cast such strong and offensive opinions. The majority of folk taking their kids away during school time will be in the same boat as us, I'm fairly certain!

Posted by Heather Price on 7 July 2012 at 10:10

Well, I think the Director of Children's Services is right, education is the given right for all children. We all work to pay for it and I am furious to think that some people just think they can take thier children out of school for 2 weeks in some over-rated tourist town somewhere in Spain with its all you can eat culture like Benidorm (no class, no culture). Children's education is priceless,the majority of parents are responsible, it is the short sighted narrow minded few who think they are above the rules. Holidays v Education.... Two week sunshine v Education, Qualifications and a better start in life, your choice, but don't whinge when you get fined and your kids fail to reach thier potential. Get your priorities right first, there are plenty of time for holidays. Maybe if holidays are more important, then simple, don't have kids! British Tax Payer

Posted by Jenny Craig on 30 May 2012 at 13:46

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