Parents’ fury over school absence rules

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A mum says she is prepared to be fined £480 to take her children out of school during term time despite tighter absence regulations being introduced in September.

In what has been one of the biggest responses to discussions on the Spalding Guardian’s Facebook page, parents have been commenting on amendments to the Education Regulations 2006.

More than 6,500 people saw the post which stated headteachers will not be granting leave of absence unless there are “exceptional” circumstances.

Until now, headteachers were able to allow up to ten days for a family holiday in special circumstances.

Jackie Hollingsworth was one of more than 70 parents who commented on the new regulations.

She said: “I am off to America in March and my kids will miss two weeks just as they did this year, last year and every other year.

“And you know what, both are still doing well.

“And so I’ll get a £480 fine... but what about the mother of the girl near me that plays truant most days... is she fined £60 a day? Is she hell!

“Sort the truants out first before hitting the responsible parents who make sure their kids go to school every day looking smart and always do their homework.”

A report, Every Day Matters – An Attendance Strategy, published in the Guardian last year showed almost 600 pupils in South Holland missed lessons for three weeks or more during 2010-11.

Debbie Barnes, director of Children’s Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We have discussed these new regulations with headteachers to reinforce that schools must comply with this. Although we are not responsible for enforcing these regulations, we will continue to support schools to do all they can to avoid children missing school unless it’s absolutely essential.”