Nearly 1,000 penalty notices have been issued to parents in Leicestershire for taking their children on term-time holidays…reports Asian Lite news.
Figures released by the county council show that from September 2014 to
July 2015, 983 notices were handed to parents for taking their children on holiday. A further 146 were given for general non attendance, reports Leicester Mercury .
The figures show a rise from the previous year when 716 penalty notices were given to parents for term-time holidays and 217 for general non attendance.
The initial fine costs £60 if it is paid within 21 days, but increases to £120 beyond that.
Parents or guardians who choose not to pay can be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500 and/or receive a three month imprisonment.
Some 132 penalty notices in Leicestershire went unpaid last academic year and have continued to prosecution.
A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council told Leicester Mercury, “We have seen a small increase in the number of penalty notices issued and we would encourage all parents to discuss with their schools any issues around term-time absences, particularly where holiday arrangements are concerned.”
The Government introduced tougher regulations on term-time holidays in September 2013.
Before the changes were brought in, head teachers were able to grant up to 10 days holiday leave per year for “special circumstances”.
Now, they are no longer able to grant any absence during term time, except under “exceptional circumstances”.
The Department for Education told Leicester Mercury : “Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect, and children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent.”
The money collected from fines is spent on administering the system as well as covering court costs.
Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers general secretary, told Leicester Mercury holiday companies “jack up the cost of holidays” outside term-time.
She said: “Education in school is central but a lot of things children can do outside the classroom also contribute to their development.”