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114 parents fined for taking children out of Rutland schools without permission last year

Parents taking their children out of Rutland schools without permission were hit with fines worth £6,300 in the last academic year.

Statistics show 114 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were handed out to parents between September 2018 and July 2019 for unauthorised leave.

There were also six fines for ‘general unauthorised absence/truancy’ which includes absence condoned by parents.

Permission must be sought from the head teacher to take a child out of school during term time
Permission must be sought from the head teacher to take a child out of school during term time

A total of 15 parents failed to pay the £60 fine.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show the numbers have fallen from the previous year when there were 123 fines for unauthorised leave and 14 for truancy.

By law parents have to get permission from the head teacher if they want to take a child out of school during term time.

It is then up to him or her how many days the pupil can be away from school if leave is granted.

Rutland County Council says the money generated through the FPNs goes back into the administration and provision of support services for children and young people.

It also pointed out that the county’s overall school absence rate was just 3.1 per cent for primary education and 3.9 per cent for secondary in 2017/18.

This compares to 8.3 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively for the East Midlands and 8.7 per cent and 13.9 per cent nationally.

Coun David Wilby, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I’m pleased to say that Rutland has extremely low rates of unauthorised school absences – well below the national and regional averages for both primary and secondary school ages.

“It’s important that children have regular attendance to give themselves the best chance of learning and keeping up with the progress of their fellow pupils. This is why we work closely with our schools to make sure they have policies and processes in place to challenge unauthorised absences.

“We also support schools in helping to remind parents of their responsibilities when it comes to absences, and only escalate matters when it’s absolutely necessary. In cases like this, schools will apply an incremental approach to concerns about school attendance but must take action when repeated unauthorised absences are identified.”

For a national overview of the issue, check out the investigation carried out by leading training provider The Knowledge Academy here.

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