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Farron: Time to end term time holiday ban

October 24, 2014 3:44 PM

Tim in SedberghSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has echoed a call from the Local Government Association for the ban on term-time holidays from school to be scrapped, so head teachers can take a "common-sense approach".

Since September last year, local councils have been obliged to fine parents who take children out of school for unauthorised absences. But today the Local Government Association says the new rules do not recognise the complexities of family life. Tim has followed up on these calls and asked Ministers to rescind this rule that, he believes, hits rural and tourist areas like the South Lakes disproportionately hard.

Until last September, heads could grant up to 10 days' leave a year for family holidays in "special circumstances". But now head teachers can grant absence outside school holidays only in "exceptional circumstances". Local authorities are obliged to instigate fines and enforce legal proceedings on behalf of schools.

This means parents who take children out of school during term-time can receive automatic penalty notices of £60 per child. This rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days. Parents who fail to pay could face prosecution and a maximum fine of £2,500 or a jail sentence of up to three months.

Tim said: "Many people in areas like ours have to work all through the summer at the height of the tourism season. I will keep pressing ministers on this and asking them to give more flexibility to schools and headteachers."