19:12 Friday 06 December 2013

Head speaks out on school's fine system

Written bySARAH BOULD

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A HEAD teacher has defended her decision to issue fines to parents for taking their children out of school in term time.

Since September schools have been encouraged to fine parents as a way of deterring them from taking their children on holiday during term time.

One parent, who has daughters that attend Granville Sports College in Woodville, told the Mail that he and his wife were fined £240 for taking their children out of school for five days in September, for a holiday they had booked in May.

The parent told the Mail: “We had booked a holiday back in May which meant my two children would be missing five days off in September. We weren’t aware of this new holiday fine ruling when we booked it as it wasn’t in place. With my two girls having good attendance we still didn’t think it would be a problem as the school can issue warning letters instead of a fine.”

He said that other parents who had booked holidays had not received fines for taking their children out of school after taking the relevant paperwork in. Despite him handing in their paperwork the fine was not quashed.

Sylvia Thomas, head teacher at Granville Sports College, told the Mail: “In the summer term 2013 we were notified by central Government of an amendment in The Education (pupil registration) Regulations stating that we should only be granting leave of absence in the case of exceptional circumstances.

“Obviously I cannot comment on individual cases.

“However, we assess each case that is presented to us on the particular set of circumstances involved.

“There is a clear link between attendance at school and academic achievement which is why, at Granville, we expect such high standards in terms of attendance and punctuality.

“Indeed currently our attendance stands at 95.4 per cent, more than a percentage point higher than last year, with a year-on-year trend of improvement over the last five years.”

Last month a 126,000-strong petition was handed to the Department for Education against the proposals. Many parents said they could not afford a holiday during term time.

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