All parents who take children on holiday in term-time to face £120 fine

18 June 2022, 13:33

Parents will be fined £120 for taking their child out of class without good reason.
Parents will be fined £120 for taking their child out of class without good reason. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Parents who take their children out of school during term-time will be fined £120 in a new crackdown by the Government.

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The Government said the new scheme would end a "postcode lottery" over how councils tackle school absences, with all parents fined if they don't have a good reason to take their child out of school.

Parents whose children have five days of unauthorised absence or lateness within one term, take holidays during term-time, or are out in public during the first five days of an exclusion will face a fixed penalty notice, the plans suggest.

The proposals, published on Friday, suggest that all schools will need to electronically take a register.

The Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, will be given central access to national register data, while local councils could access all attendance data for schools in their area, the proposals suggest.

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A parent would face a maximum of two fines for each child within the school year, with prosecution considered as the next step if this limit were reached.

The Government said that currently councils decide upon the threshold where fines are imposed on parents.

Plans to crackdown on absence in schools comes after Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children's Commissioner, called for attendance to rise to 100% by the 2022 autumn term in September.

She urged academy trusts to do "whatever it takes" to achieve this.

The Government says its proposals would end a "postcode lottery" within a system where parents are fined for absence in some areas and not in others.

The plans would also tighten up rules on pupil absence in the case of illness, as current regulations allow a child’s name to be deleted from registers if their health means it’s unlikely they can attend school.

It also suggests online learning could be recorded in the case of absence, as while currently a pupil's participation in remote education cannot be recorded, "we recognise that as remote education technology develops...there may be a need for this type of participation to be recorded".

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And the proposals suggest that pupils younger than compulsory schooling age should still have their absence recorded, whereas currently their attendance does not need to be recorded by law.

Nadhim Zahawi said: "I know from the Children's Commissioner's work on school attendance that children themselves hugely value being in school with their teachers and their friends.

"My job is to make sure that every child can get those school experiences. The plans set out today to reform how absence fines operate, alongside our Schools Bill currently going through parliament, will improve consistency across the country and help tackle persistent absence."