William Eichler 17 June 2016

Increase in fines for term-time holidays amid confusion over law

Number of fines issued by councils to parents taking children out of school for holidays has increased by 55%, Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveals.

The FoI responses received show more than 47,157 parents were subject to fines during the 2013/14 academic year, which climbed to 74,278 in 2014/15.

The collective cost was £4.5m.

Esure travel insurance, which submitted the FoI, also found parents are confused about the legality of term-time holidays after a recent High Court ruling.

Their analysis revealed two thirds of parents—65%—are unclear about whether it is legal to take their children out of school to travel.

The court ruling stated children could be taken out of school for term-time holidays as long as they have a good attendance record.

However, the schools minister Nick Gibb has told head teachers to ignore the ruling and continue to enforce fines on parents.

The Department of Education has also told the local council involved in the court case to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

The current rules on term-time absences are parents may remove their children if they make a successful application to the head teacher ahead of the trip, or if there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.

If neither of these conditions apply, parents can be fined £60 by the council.

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