More than 5,500 Derbyshire parents slapped with fines for taking children out of school during term time

Rural schools face a funding crisis.
Rural schools face a funding crisis.

More than 5,500 parents in Derbyshire were fined for taking their child out of school for unauthorised holidays during term time in 2017-2018, new statistics show.

The Department for Education figures show that a total of 5,567 Derbyshire parents were slapped with a penalty notice during this period.

The figure for Derbyshire is only behind Lancashire (7,575), Bradford (6,687), Hampshire (6,616) and Essex (6,603).

Parents who take their child out of school for an unauthorised holiday during term time face a penalty of £120 per child.

MORE NEWS: Supermarket giant Morrisons to open new store in Bolsover

Parents generally have to get permission to take their child out of school during term time and this often depends on their overall attendance throughout the rest of the school year.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “Derbyshire County Council and school staff want every child to do the best they can and we strongly recommend that holidays should not be taken during term time because we know that even a small amount of time out of school can adversely affect pupils’ academic achievement.

“In line with government guidelines, it is the headteacher’s decision whether an absence is authorised or not. Where it is unauthorised, Derbyshire County Council has clear policies regarding the issuing of penalty notices.

“The increase in enforcement in Derbyshire is as a result of the change to Government regulations which came into force in 2013 to deal with unauthorised leave in term time.”

MORE NEWS: More than 500 knives are taken off Derbyshire streets during surrender campaign

Across the whole country, the percentage of pupils who missed at least one session due to a family holiday in 2017/18 was 17.6 per cent, compared with 16.9 in 2016/17.

The percentage of all possible sessions missed due to family holidays agreed by the school was 0.1 per cent in 2017/18, which was similar to the figure in 2016/17.

The percentage of all possible sessions missed due to unauthorised family holidays remains at 0.4 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: "Unauthorised holiday absence has been increasing gradually since 2006/07 whilst authorised holiday absence is much lower now than in 2006/07 but has remained steady over recent years.

From September 2013, a regulations amendment clarified that term time leave may only be granted in exceptional circumstances, which explains the sharp fall in authorised holiday absence between 2012/13 and 2013/14."