School absence fines more than double


- Credit: Archant

TIGHTER restrictions on term-time absences have left many parents across North Somerset feeling the pinch.

In 2013 new legislation was introduced by the Government with the hope of deterring parents from taking their children out of school to save money on cheap holiday deals.

The legislation took away headteachers’ powers to authorise absences and left parents liable for a £60 fine.

The clampdown was widely predicted to hit parents hard and those in North Somerset have been no exception.

North Somerset Council dished out 356 penalty notices in 2013-14, more than double the 130 fines given out in 2012-13.

Prosecutions due to unpaid fines have also risen, from just 15 in 2012-13 to 58 in 2013-14, with nine cases still pending.

Jeremy Blatchford, the council’s executive member for children and young people’s services said: “School attendance is a critical part of building high attainment.

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“Parents need to be aware of the damage they are doing to their child’s education.”

Despite a rise in fines there has been an improvement in overall absence rates, dropping from 5.1 per cent 12 months ago to 4.4 per cent at the end of the most recent academic year.