PARENTS in Warwickshire who take children out of school for holidays will continue to face fines.
The news comes after a number of councils in the country dropped prosecution cases against parents following the high profile court victory by Jon Platt who had refused to pay a fine after taking his daughter on a family holiday during term time. He won his case because his daughter had a good attendance record, but Isle of Wight Council has since been given permission to challenge the decision.
But Warwickshire County Council – which has prosecuted more than 80 parents in the past two years – says it has no intention of changing its rules.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “The rules are perfectly clear – children should not be taken out of school without good reason.
“The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances – vindicating our strong stance on attendance.
“A child who is absent also impacts teachers, whose planning of lessons is disrupted by children missing large portions of teaching.”
During the past two years 111 families in Warwickshire have been hit with £120 fixed penalty fines (payable within 28 days but with a reduction to £60 if paid within 21 days). A further 28 prosecutions brought by the council were either unsuccessful or were dropped.
A father who was among those prosecuted could see not end to the circle off fines.
The dad of two, who did not want to be named, told The Observer: “The main problem is the cost for a family to go away together during school holidays. The holiday companies increase the price two and three fold. It is a lot cheaper to pay the fine.
“I am a responsible parent, like I’m sure most of those who get fined are. My children have a good attendance record, and I certainly do not believe they suffer from missing a week or two of school each year. There are children whose absence throughout the year extends much longer than a couple of weeks, without any explanation.”
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/schoolattendance to see Warwickshire County Council’s rules on school attendance.