Lancashire tops the league for holiday fines
More parents are fined in Lancashire for taking their children on holidays during school time than anywhere else in the country, according to latest figures.
But education chiefs have reacted to suggestions they are being too strict by revealing: “We’ve got more schools than the rest.”
“We are always likely to appear high up in lists like this,” said Coun Matthew Tomlinson, LCC’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools. “Lancashire has more schools than any other local authority.”
Data obtained by Santander Bank under a Freedom of Information request shows Lancashire issued 4,279 fines to parents for unauthorised term-time absence during the 2014/15 school year, followed by Doncaster (3,559), Bradford (3,445) and Leeds (3,435).
The fines in Lancashire totalled more than £250,000, while nationally the 92,784 fines brought in an estimated £5.6m.
The figures show the number of financial penalties handed out by education authorities rose by more than two-and-a-half times over two years.
But the system has been thrown into disarray this year following a High Court ruling in May involving Isle of Wight parent Jon Platt who successfully appealed a fine for a term-time holiday claiming his child had an otherwise impeccable attendance record.
Coun Tomlinson said: “We encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences. Our aim throughout is not to punish parents, but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education.”
The increase in unauthorised absence is blamed on tour company prices.Families can face paying up to 68 per cent more for a break taken during school holidays - the equivalent of an extra £1,700.