Sandwell Council issues £13k school term time holiday fines

Parents have been fined a total of £13,000 by Sandwell Council for taking their children out of school during term time

New figures have revealed more than 200 parents received fines from Sandwell Council totalling £13,000 last year for removing their children from school during term time.

The policy which allows local authorities to issue financial penalties to parents who take children on vacation during the school year is undoubtedly controversial, with many parents expressing anger at the scheme.

Holidays during the school vacation period can cost significantly more than going during term time. The legislation was put into place to stop children missing lessons to go on holiday. However, despite the legislation being in place for three years parents are still risking the possibility of fines to take children out of school.

Under the legislation, local authorities can fine parents £60 for breaching the rules. This increases to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days. Refusal to pay can result in court action.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed 216 parents in Sandwell were fined in the 2015/16 school year, with the council receiving £12,960 as a result.

Only six parents successfully appealed their fines.

The number of fined handed out has grown significantly over the past few years, with just 87 in 2013/14 and 15 in 2012/13.

Sandwell Council’s children’s services boss Simon Hackett said: “Although I do sympathise with families who struggle to get the time off during the statutory holiday periods and those that cannot afford holiday prices in the peak periods, I would obviously urge parents to ensure that their children attend school regularly so that their education is not disrupted.”

Some councils have begun to relax their stance on school fines, with Derbyshire County Council stating recently it would only fine parents for removing their children from school in “extreme cases”.

Dudley Council and Staffordshire County Council have already stopped fining parents for up to 10 days absence.


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