YOUR SAY: Parents speak out about term time fines

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Have your say

After both the High Court and Supreme Court have become involved with one dad’s legal battle to take his daughter out of school during term time and we wanted to get your views on the subject.

The government state if a child is absent from school during term time local councils can give parents a fine of £60, which rises to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days and if no payment is received after 28 days parents may be prosecuted.

Ian Barraclough

Ian Barraclough

Dad-of-two Ian Barraclough, 51, has not taken his children out of school but does not object to the idea. He said: “A child being off for three days for a holiday is not different than being off three days with illness. There needs to be a system where parents can be given one week’s grace from the school to take pupils out for a holiday.

“The cost between going on holiday in term time and school holidays is a massive difference and it’s much more economical to pay the fine so something needs to be done to regulate travel companies.”

The High Court had earlier ruled in father Jon Platt’s favour, saying he was not acting unlawfully by taking daughter out of school for a family trip to Florida. But education chiefs appealed to the Supreme Court and last week five judges unanimously allowed the appeal. The case will now go back to the magistrates court.

Elizabeth Flett, 65 from Buxton, said: “I used to take my children out during school time and I think more can be taught in one week about broadening horizons and making family memories than can be taught in a classroom.”

Elizabeth Flett

Elizabeth Flett

However Derbsyhire County Council has spoken out since the Supreme Court ruling stating even a small amount of time out of school can adversely affect pupils’ academic achievement and it does not condone parents taking their children on term-time holidays.

Samantha Beaton, 41 from Blacksaw Moor, said: “I will be taking my children out for a holiday, the school haven’t agreed to it but even a fine will be cheaper than paying the ridiculous prices to go away in the holidays.”
Emma Scorer works in education as a teaching assistant and the 36-year-old mum-of-three said: “I have no choice but to go on holiday in school time but if I had a different job I would. I think it is wrong to penalise families who are trying to spend quality time together. A holiday can be very educational as it allows children to experience things they can only read about in textbooks in the classroom. If children have good attendance what is the problem? I think it is so totally unfair to punish people trying to avoid the steep holiday prices.”
Gareth West, 44, has taken his children out to go on holiday.

He said: “I think at certain points like for children taking exams staying in school is needed but in the last weeks of the summer term in primary school what will they be missing out on?”

However, Chris Wallis, 49, disagrees.

He said: “Education is the most important thing we can give our children as it sets them up for life. I think it is right to fine people who do take children out.

“They get enough holidays so why should they miss any more lessons? If people can’t afford to go abroad during the holidays then parents should holiday elsewhere.”

Gareth West

Gareth West

Emma Scorer

Emma Scorer

Chris Wallis

Chris Wallis