Truth about £1,000 fines for taking children out of school in Lancashire

County Hall has rubbished claims parents could be fined 1,000 for taking children out of school
County Hall has rubbished claims parents could be fined 1,000 for taking children out of school

Education chiefs have denied reports parents in Lancashire will be fined £1,000 for taking children out of school for holidays.

Lancashire County Council moved to clarify the situation regarding fines issued because of unauthorised absence from school following claims in a Sunday newspaper they are to increase penalties.

The report claimed County Hall wanted to hike fines to £1,000 per child for parents taking youngsters out of school without permission leaving families with more than one child potentially facing a large penalty.

An authority spokesman said: “There is no initiative running regarding increasing the amount of money people would be fined because of an unauthorised absence from school. The penalty notice fine amounts for unauthorised absence from school are set by the government and cannot be changed by a local authority.

“The decision to authorise absence or not rests with the headteacher of the particular school, and not with the county council. Penalty notices of £120 for each child, which reduces to £60 if paid within 21 days, are an enforcement option that are available to local authorities, if requested by schools. This continues to be the policy.

“No figure of £1,000 has been discussed by the authority, or even suggested.

“The county council supports and encourages schools to work with parents to reduce unauthorised absences. At the request of headteachers, informal discussions are currently ongoing with schools to look at ways to manage absence, in particular excessive time taken off school for holidays.

“At this stage considerations regarding possible changes are simply a way of gathering ideas to try to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education. Our policy regarding absence from school has not changed and there are no plans for this to happen.

County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “School attendance is given high priority in Lancashire and rightly so, as every day counts in each pupil’s education.

“We will continue to encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences and our aim throughout is not to punish parents, but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education. We firmly believe that children and young people’s success is linked to attendance and if children miss out on school, they miss out on learning.”