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Over 1,500 fines handed to North Yorkshire parents

Over 1,500 fines handed to North Yorkshire parents

Published by May Norman at 6:50am 13th April 2020.

Tommy Lumby, Data Reporter

North Yorkshire parents handed more than 1,500 fines for children missing school

  • More than 1,500 fines were handed to North Yorkshire parents after their children missed school last year.
  • New figures reveal poor attendance in 2018-19 has risen by 3 per cent on the previous school year.
  • The vast majority of fines were handed out for an unauthorised family holiday.

Parents in North Yorkshire were slapped with more than 1,500 fines after their children missed school last year, new figures reveal.

The Association of School and College Leaders says absence is not only disruptive to the pupil concerned but their peers and teachers as well, and has urged parents to follow the rules.

Department for Education data shows that 1,748 penalty notices were issued to North Yorkshire parents for a child’s poor attendance in 2018-19 – a 3 per cent rise on the previous school year.

The vast majority of these were handed out for an unauthorised family holiday​.

Families - adoption

Over the same period, the rate of unauthorised absence – the proportion of all available half-day school periods missed without permission – ​stayed the same, ​at ​1 per cent.

Across England, fines rose by 28per cent to more than 333,000 in 2018-19.

This followed a 75 per cent increase the previous year.

The DfE said many councils cited the Supreme Court judgment when asked to explain large increases.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said the significant number of fines showed the sanctions were an imperfect solution but added that they were better than no deterrent at all:

“A term-time holiday disrupts not only the learning of the child concerned but is also more widely disruptive to the school in general.

“Teachers have to help the pupil who has missed lessons to catch up, adding to their workload and potentially taking time away from other pupils.

“We understand the difficulty of affording the cost of holidays during peak season, but the rules are there for the good of all children in the school community, and we would appeal to all parents to respect this fact.”

schools - assault - exclusions - RADAR

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, said the real problem was holiday pricing.

“Neither parents nor schools set the prices of holidays. They will both continue to be caught between a rock and a hard place without some sensible government intervention."

Penalty notices are £60 if paid within 21 days of being issued – in North Yorkshire, 1,013 fines worth £60,780 were paid within this time.

The fee rises to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days – this was the case on 291 occasions in the area, equivalent to £34,920.

If the penalty is still outstanding after this, the council must either prosecute for the original offence or withdraw the notice.

​In North Yorkshire, 20 fines issued in 2018-19 ended in prosecution.

School desk

A DfE spokeswoman said:

“Local authorities now have greater clarity on when they can issue fines to parents who take their children out of school without good reason – and this is reflected in the increase.”