By Greg Dawson
An increasing number of parents in Kirklees are taking their children out of school for cheaper term-time holidays.
The Department of Education has given figures showing Kirklees primary and secondary schools have a missing total of 40,328 days because of holidays in the autumn term of 2018.
Most of these where unauthorised absences, head teachers or teachers not asked for permission before their child could miss lessons.
Fugues show unauthorised absences have risen by 8% from the level they were at in 2017, having risen 25% from what they were six years ago.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure their child goes to school. If parents don’t meet set standards they can be fined. This fine is fixed at £60 which must be paid within 21 days or else the amount increases to £120. If the fine is still not paid 28 days later then the parents can be taken to court.
From 2017- 2018 there were 4,031 penalties handed out. 3927 of these were caused by term time holidays.
Package holidays to destinations such as Majorca and Malta don’t cost a lot over £1200 but can increase dramatically in price in August.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of school and college leaders said:
“We understand that family holidays are expensive during peak periods, but taking children out of school during term time disrupts their education and adds to the workload of teachers who then have to help them catch up.
“Most parents support their schools and do not remove their children during term time for family holidays. Those that do so can expect to be fined.
“However, there are no plans to increase the penalty, and any such move would need careful consideration because of the risk of causing greater friction between families and schools.”
DfE figures on pupil absence: