Mastin Moor parent disgusted with fixed penalty notices

Nyree, who is protesting about being fined for wanting to holiday with her children in term time,  and her son Cody
Nyree, who is protesting about being fined for wanting to holiday with her children in term time, and her son Cody

A mum-of-two is so sick of parents being issued with fines if they take their children out of school during term time she is taking part in a mass walk-out.

Nyree Clark, of Worksop Road, works full time and has two boys, aged 11 and six but due to her work commitments can not take time off during the school holidays.

Under new rules, which came into force September 2013, any parent or guardian who takes their child out of education with an unauthorised absence faces a £60 fixed penalty notice per parent per child, so a couple with two children face a £240 fine.

Mrs Clark said: “My children are my world and I work 50 weeks of the year. When I am on holiday I want to spend it with them but I shouldn’t be penalised for taking them out of term for one week when they otherwise have 100 per cent attendance rates.”

A national petition started in August to make an allowance for up to two weeks term time leave from school for holiday, it currently has 98,000 signatures and when it has 100,000 it will be discussed in Parliament.

A spokesperson for the Government said: “The Government wants every child to attend school regularly, and to confine absences to unavoidable causes. There is clear evidence that absence from school is linked to lower levels of attainment.”

Mrs Clark is a dog walker and cat sitter and looks after other peoples pets so they can go away and has to work during the busy summer months.

She said: “Not everyone can afford to go away in the holidays as travel agents hike their prices up and then parents are left with no alternative but to go in term-time but that can’t happen now.”

The couple received a fine after they took their children to Ireland for a week last school year. This was paid but Mrs Clark explained it was an educational trip and the boys did a holiday project on pirates so they were still learning about different cultural experiences.

Derbyshire County Council issue the fixed penalty notices and a spokesman said: “We follow strict Government regulations on penalty notices which means headteachers should not grant approval for any leave of absence during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

“I think it is disgusting the way parents are being treated at the moment,” Mrs Clark said.

“I am a loss of what to do now.”

Due to family circumstances out of her control, Nyree and her husband have to go away next month and no-one will be able to take the children to school and this has left the couple trying to find extra money so they are prepared if they are hit with a fixed penalty notice.

She added:“There is no flexibility with the schools. I understand that they are just following rules but they are not looking at individual cases.

“It is now so bad that me and my husband have seriously been discussing home-schooling the boys so we can have a bit more control.”

What are your thoughts on being fined for taking your children out during term time?