Can you avoid the half term holiday price hike? What the law says about taking children out of school
The Schools Minister Nick Gibb hailed this as a triumph, insisting that fewer pupils would be missing vital lesson as a result. However, a closer look at the figures reveals that how many fines are issued very much depending where your child goes to school.
According to the survey by the BBC, in the first year of operation:
- Hampshire issued less than 249 fines
- Berkshire issued less than 500 fines
- West Sussex issued 2,403
- (No data was given for Surrey)
- Top of the list was Lancashire, issuing no less than 3,106 fines
So, what are the regulations on removing children from school?
a) they are too ill to attend
b) you have permission in advance from the school
This permission can only be granted by the school head, and if permission is granted, the head teacher will decide how many days absence is allowed.
Under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, Section 23, your local council has various legal powers to ensure your child attends school, including a Parenting Order, an Education Supervision Order, a School Attendance Order, and the penalty notice (fine) discussed above. The current penalty is £60, rising to £120 if unpaid within 21 days, and penalties are issued per child, not per household. If you don’t pay within 28 days, you can be prosecuted which could lead to a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a custodial sentence of up to 3 months. However, it is worth noting that a council is not required to issue any order before prosecuting you.
In January 2014, a couple from Shropshire were ordered to pay almost £1000 in fines and costs for taking their three children to Greece for a week, making their cheaper holiday suddenly very much more expensive…