Government scrap plans to fine parents who take kids on holiday during term time

The government initially planned to introduce a system that would fine parents who take their children out of school in order to go on a family holiday. These plans have recently been abandoned though as there was a strong backlash from the population that this would put an even tighter financial pressure on the middle class, who already are suffering from various financial hardships.

The government has backed down on the mandatory fine system and instead have said that the decision to fine parents can be left up to the school’s discretion. They’ve also said that it is unlikely that there will be any fines handed out for first-time offenders, however, if it repeatedly happens, headteachers do have the discretion to issue a fine.

Schools already have the power to fine parents who allow their children to skip school, but until now the only way to enforce these fines was to take the parents to court, which can be an expensive process. The new authority from the government has meant that fines will initially double and if these are not paid, then the money can be removed from the child benefits that are paid to the parents.

Last year nearly 33,000 penalties were issued to parents for their children missing school, however less than half of them were actually paid in the end. This was largely because of the logistical difficulty of chasing up the payment.

There is a strong correlation between truancy and poor grades. Children who are away for less than five percent of the school year are far more likely to achieve good GCSE grades. Middle-class truancy is something that has become an increasing issue in recent years and in 2011 it was estimated that around 10 percent of all absence was due to parents taking holidays with their children during term time.

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