Fines handed out to parents

Parents who have fallen foul of the crackdown on taking children out of school during term time have been fined almost £3,000 in the past school year.

Northamptonshire County Council has issued 73 penalty notices since the law was introduced in September 2013. Fines are set at £60 per parent, per child, for each period of unauthorised absence.

The figures for Northamptonshire, revealed after a Freedom of Information request, showed that in the two years before the new laws came in, there were no fixed penalty notices issued over term-time holidays.

A NCC spokesman said: “Since September 2013, absences in term time can only be authorised in exceptional circumstances, but the government has not defined what constitutes ‘exceptional’.

“As a result, we’ve advised schools their attendance policies need to clearly set out what they consider to be exceptional circumstances for granting term time absence.

“Authorisation remains at the discretion of the headteacher and governors and the council is not part of the authorisation process.

“A decision to consider the issue of fixed penalty notices is based on information submitted by schools.

“Our policy is that the issuing of a penalty notice should be balanced proportionally against the option of a further warning notice dependant upon the circumstances.”