Gloucestershire parents fined nearly £20,000 for holidays in term time

Figures have revealed the number of £60 fines that have been handed out to parents in Gloucestershire who have taken their children on term time holidays over the past two years.

Statistics obtained through a freedom of information request showed that Gloucestershire County Council has collected £19,885 in fines since 2015/16.

Latest figures found in the academic year 2015/16, 66 parents were persecuted or jailed, while £15,060 were fined in penalty notices and fines.

While in the year, 2016/17, one parent was prosecuted or jailed and £4825 was paid in penalty notices and fines.

Councillor Richard Boyles, the cabinet member for Children and Young people, says he believes there can be good reason for parents to take their children out of during term times.

He said: “I would say there is good reason for parents to take their children out of school, and that is a negotiation they will have to have with the headteacher of the school and themselves.

“We look to the school to manage the exclusion policy and the absence policy in their own environment, but where the head teacher has been applied to for absence and that has been refused and then the parents continue to take their child out regardless of teh views of teh school that is where it is unnecessary for the parent to take the child out.

The penalty notice allows parents 21 days to pay a £60 fine. If they pay after the 21-day period but within 28 days, the fine increases to £120. If the fine remains unpaid at this stage, the council initiate legal proceedings against parents for their child’s nonattendance.

If parents do not pay and they are convicted of this offence there are a number of possible sentences, including a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a period of up to three months imprisonment

The department for Education could not be reached for comment, butits official guidance is that the rules are perfectly clear: children should be taken out of school without perfectly good reason.

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