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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Cumbrian parents face fines for taking term-time holidays

A change in the law will see parents fined at least £60 a week if they take their children away on holiday in term time.

Stephen Fraser photo
Stephen Fraser

The Government is taking away existing powers from headteachers which allow them to give permission for children to have a leave of absence for up to 10 days for the purpose of a family holiday in “special circumstances”.

When the new academic year starts in September absences will no longer be able to be granted apart from in “exceptional circumstances”, the Department for Education has ruled.

Family holidays are not being classed as “exceptional circumstances”.

But headteachers, who will still hold the responsibility of giving permission, have yet be told what will constitute “exceptional circumstances”. Further guidance is expected in September.

Headteachers in Cumbria are moving quickly to inform parents of the changes.

Stephen Fraser, who leads St Michael’s Primary School in Dalston, has written to parents.

He said: “Fixed penalty notices are, in effect, charges for absence that has not been approved and, from September, will include family holidays.

“The local authority will be issuing more information shortly and I will update you when this has been received.”

Val Bairstow, head of Kirkbride Primary School, said: “I am awaiting further guidance.”

It is understood the heads of 17 primary schools, members of the Carlisle Schools’ Partnership, are discussing the situation in a bid to provide a level of uniformity for parents across the city ahead of any national regulations.

Meanwhile Cumbria County Council has said that it is not planning to draw up a list of what will qualify as “exceptional circumstances” but awaits Government guidance.

Have your say

@Nathan
you point is that children have a right to education & you shouldn't take them out of school so what is the difference to a "strike day" that right of education has been removed from children,if the teachers aren't happy about pay,pensions etc why don't they march through the streets on a saturday?

Posted by djr on 15 July 2013 at 12:26

@djr teachers going on strike is something completely different and a whole can of worms that you and I do not want to open. They're campaigning for better working conditions and rallying against the changes in their terms and conditions relating to pay and pensions. Among the public sector workers, they have been amongst the most badly hit from the recession and austerity

Posted by Nathan on 12 July 2013 at 23:03

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