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Parents in South Derbyshire paying the penalty

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

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PARENTS in South Derbyshire are much more likely to be fined for taking their children on holiday during term time than in Burton, according to new figures.

Just three £60 charges have been handed out in Staffordshire since the controversial rules were introduced last September compared to Derbyshire where parents were given little sympathy with a staggering 679 fines issued.

The contrasting figures suggest education chiefs in the two counties are taking contrasting approaches to the issue.

Staffordshire County Council said it had ‘no specific concerns’ with parents and hoped it would ‘continue to be the case’.

Many parents hit out at the decision to start issuing fines for removing children from school during term time when it was announced at the beginning of the academic year.

Head teachers are now only allowed to grant absences in exceptional circumstances and must disclose unauthorised absences to county authorities.

Viv Sharples, acting head teacher at Pingle School, in Swadlincote, said most parents had been receptive to the changes, though some were still risking a fine.

She said: “Since the regulations changed we have seen a significant reduction in the number of requests we have had to take children out of school during term time for family holidays.

“We have been working with families to help them to understand the importance of regular attendance and the impact that a week or two weeks of missed lessons can have on progress.”

Graham Goulding, business manager at Derbyshire’s biggest school, John Port, in Etwall, said: “We have a lot of applications to take children out. There is always a slight suspicion if we get a phone call saying a child is expected to be ill for a week, especially after the school holidays.

“We believe children should be in school but it is a Derbyshire policy.”

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