Exclusive: The postcode lottery facing Leeds parents over school holiday fines

School holiday fines

School holiday fines

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PARENTS in Leeds face a postcode lottery in their chance of being fined for taking children on holiday during term time, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

There has been more than 3,400 penalty notices issued in the last academic year alone as schools are urged to follow tougher Government guidelines.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon

Since the rules were changed two years ago to only allow absences in exceptional circumstances the numbers of fines issued in Leeds has soared.

In 2012/13 - before the guidelines changed - there were 105 parents fined across the city for taking pupils out of school without permission. Under the previous system schools could allows parents up to ten days .

In the last academic year this had risen to 3,435 fines of £60.

There were more than a dozen schools in Leeds which issued more than one fine a week.

However the Yorkshire Evening Post can also reveal that there were 90 schools which did not issue any fines in the same period.

Leeds City Council is now said to be in talks with schools about the disparity in the number of penalty notices being issued.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive member responsible for children and families said: We are aware there is some inconsistency in how different schools implement the government’s legislation on term time holidays, so we are working with head teachers to ensure they understand the legislation and are implementing it in the correct way. We have recently reviewed our code of conduct around this legislation and are sharing this with head teachers to remind them of their responsibilities and to ensure consistency across the city.

“We firmly believe that the best place for children to be during term time is in school, and continue to support schools to ensure parents understand the importance of ensuring their children attend school regularly and benefit from taking a full and active part in daily school life. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school, and we have always encouraged parents to think twice before booking holidays during term time.”

The schools which have had the most parents fined include Leeds West Academy where 89 were issued, Woodkirk Academy in Tingley, where 86 were issued and East Ardsley Primary where 84 were issued - more than any other primary.

Four of the five schools with the most fines issued in Leeds were academies. However the actual fines are all issued by the council and the money is then retained by the local authority to cover the cost of administering the penalty notice scheme and to cover the cost of prosecuting parents that fail to pay their fine.

The flagship school of a major academy chain saw the most parents fined in Wakefield.

There were 140 fines issued to parents at Outwood Grange Academy.

Sir Michael Wilkins, academy principal and chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust said: “​It is unequivocal that GCSE results achieved by students can be adversely effected by poor attendance. At Outwood Grange Academies Trust we take our responsibility seriously and employ a range of supportive strategies to ensure that students attend on a regular basis. In extreme cases, where our repertoire has been exhausted, we will not hesitate to contact the local authority in order that parents understand their obligations and a fine may well be issued. This sanction is part of the government’s guidelines and is sometimes a necessary step in order to ensure students attend”.

THE POSTCODE LOTTERY: WHERE WERE LEEDS PARENTS WERE FINED?

Abbey Grange Academy <6

Aberford Primary 0

Adel Primary 0

Adel St John Primary 9

All Saints C of E Primary 9

All Saints Primary Otley 10

Allerton Bywater Primary 30

Allerton C of E Primary <6

Allerton Grange 8

Allerton High 34

Alwoodley Primary 12

Ashfield Primary 17

Asquith Primary 9

Austhorpe 16

Bankside Primary 10

Bardsey 0

Barwick-in Elmet CofE Primary 0

Beechwood Primary 30

Beecroft Primary 0

Beeston Hill St Luke’s CofE Primary 0

Beeston Primary 37

Benton Park High 38

BESD SILC - Elmete Central <6

Birchfield Primary 8

Blackgates 0

Blenheim Primary 28

Boston Spa 7

Bracken Edge 0

Bramham Primary 0

Bramhope Primary <6

Bramley Primary 6

Bramley St Peters CofE Primary 21

Brigshaw High School and Language College 16

Broadgate Primary 0

Brodetsky Primary <6

Brownhill Primary Academy 16

Brudenell Primary 9

Bruntcliffe High 47

Burley Park Centre 0

Burley St Matthias Primary <6

Calverley CofE Primary 0

Calverley Parkside Primary 0

Cardinal Heenan Catholic High 31

Carlton Primary 51

Carr Manor Community 0

Carr Manor Primary 0

Castleton Primary 0

Chapel Allerton Primary 37

Christ Church Upper Armley Primary <6

Christ the King Catholic Primary <6

Churwell Primary <6

City of Leeds High 11

Clapgate Primary 8

Cobden Primary <6

Cockburn School 57

Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings CofE Primary 0

Colton Primary School 17

Cookridge Holy Trinity Primary 20

Cookridge Primary 0

Co-op Academy 49

Corpus Christi Catholic College 49

Corpus Christi Catholic Primary 0

Cottingley Primary 0

Crawshaw Academy 11

Cross Gates Primary 16

Crossley Street Primary 0

David Young Community Academy 28

Deighton Gates Primary Wetherby 0

Drighlington Primary 63

East Ardsley 84

East Garforth Primary 0

East SILC - John Jamieson 0

Ebor Gardens Primary 0

Farnley Academy 66

Farsley Farfield Primary 0

Farsley Springbank Junior 22

Farsley Westroyd Infant <6

Fieldhead Carr Primary 0

Five Lanes Primary 28

Fountain Primary 0

Garforth Academy 0

Garforth Green Lane Primary 0

Gildersome Primary 55

Gledhow Primary 0

Grange Farm Primary 31

Greenhill Primary 0

Greenmount Primary 6

Grimes Dyke Primary 14

Great Preston CofE Primary 25

Guiseley High 19

Guiseley Infant and Nursery <6

Harehills Primary 7

Harewood CofE Primary 0

Hawksworth CofE Primary 0

Hawksworth Wood Primary <6

Highfield Primary 10

Hillcrest Academy <6

Hill Top Primary 6

Holy Name Catholic Primary <6

Hollybush Primary 9

Holy Family Catholic Primary 6

Holy Rosary & St Anne’s Catholic Primary 0

Horsforth Academy 9

Horsforth Featherbank Primary <6

Horsforth Newlaithes Primary 15

Hovingham 24

Hugh Gaitskell Primary 18

Hunslet Carr Primary 53

Hunslet Gate 0

Hunslet Moor Primary 13

Hunslet St Mary’s Primary 9

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary 0

Ingram Road Primary 17

Ireland Wood Primary <6

Iveson Primary 0

John Smeaton Academy <6

Kerr Mackie Primary 21

Khalsa Academy

Kippax Ash Tree Primary 28

Kippax Greenfield 19

Kippax North Junior and Infant School 31

Kirkstall St Stephen’s CofE Primary 9

Kirkstall Valley Primary 0

Lady Elizabeth Hastings Ledston Primary 6

Lawns Park Primary 13

Lawnswood High 21

Leeds East Academy 14

Leeds South Academy 71

Leeds West Academy 89

Lighthouse Free School <6

Little London Primary <6

Low Road Primary 9

Lower Wortley Primary 0

Manston Primary 0

Manston St James CofE Primary Academy 5

Meadowfield 14

Meanwood Primary 6

Methley Primary 16

Micklefield CofE Primary 0

Middleton St Mary’s CofE Primary 13

Middleton Primary 12

Mill Field Primary 0

Moor Allerton Hall Primary 9

Moortown Primary 0

Morley Academy 38

Morley Newlands Primary <6

Morley Victoria Primary 0

Mount St Mary’s Catholic High <6

New Bewerley Community School 15

Nightingale Academy 0

Ninelands Primary School 29

North East SILC - West Oaks 0

North West SILC 0

Oakwood Primary 0

Oakwood Pupil Support Centre 0

Otley Prince Henry’s Academy 13

Oulton Primary 38

Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary 0

Park View Academy 10

Park Spring Primary 9

Parklands Primary 6

Pool CofE Primary 0

Priesthorpe High 53

Primrose Lane Primary 0

Pudsey Bolton Royd 35

Pudsey Grangefield High 11

Pudsey Greenside Primary 40

Pudsey Lowtown Primary 0

Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary 33

Pudsey Southroyd Primary 34

Pudsey Tyersal Primary 11

Pudsey Waterloo Primary 0

Quarry Mount 10

Queensway Primary <6

Ralph Thorseby High 28

Rawdon Littlemoor Primary 13

Rawdon St Peter’s Primary 34

Raynville Primary 12

Richmond Hill Primary 0

Robin Hood Primary 39

Rodillian Academy 57

Rosebank Primary 12

Rothwell CofE Primary Academy 15

Rothwell Primary 15

Rothwell Haigh Road Infants 14

Rothwell St Mary’s Primary 19

Rothwell Victoria Junior 12

Roundhay Technology College 50

Roundhay St John’s CofE Primary <6

Royds High 48

Rufford Park Primary 0

Ruth Gorse Academy <6

Ryecroft Academy 16

Sacred Heart <6

Scholes Primary 29

Seacroft Grange Primary 0

Seven Hills Primary 19

Shadwell Primary 0

Shakespeare Primary 23

Sharp Lane Primary 43

Shire Oaks Primary 0

South SILC - Broomfield 0

Springbank Primary <6

St Anthony’s Catholic Primary Beeston 28

St Augustine’s Catholic Primary 10

St Bartholomew’s CofE Primary 0

St Benedict’s Catholic Primary Garforth 0

St Chads Primary 9

St Edward’s Catholic Primary 0

St Francis Catholic Primary Morley 0

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary 6

St James’ CofE Primary <6

St John’s School for the deaf 0

St Joseph’s Primary Hunslet 14

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary 0

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Wetherby 0

St Margaret’s CofE Primary <6

St Mary’s CofE Primary 0

St Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive 0

St Mary’s Catholic Primary 0

St Matthew’s CofE Primary 0

St Nicholas’ Catholic Primary 11

St Oswald’s Junior 10

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary 0

St Paul’s Catholic Primary 6

St Peter’s and Paul’s Primary 0

St Peter’s C of E Primary 6

St Phillip’s Catholic Primary 11

St Theresa’s Catholic Primary 0

St Urban’s Catholic Primary 0

Stanningley Primary 14

Strawberry Fields Primary 0

Summerfield Primary 0

Swallow Hill Community College 29

Swarcliffe Primary 8

Swillington Primary 13

Swinnow Primary 0

Talbot Primary <6

Temple Moor 21

Temple Newsam Halton Primary 7

The Whartons Primary 0

Thorner CofE Primary 14

Thorpe Arch Primary 0

Thorpe Primary 12

TLC North 0

Tranmere Park <6

Valley View Community Primary 0

Victoria Primary 30

Weetwood Primary 0

West End Primary 0

West SILC 0

Westbrook Lane Primary 0

Westerton Primary 59

Westgate Primary 11

Westwood Primary <6

Wetherby High 0

Whingate Primary <6

Whinmoor St Paul’s CofE Primary 14

White Laith Primary 23

Whitecote Primary 8

Whitkirk Primary 17

Wigton Moor Primary 44

Windmill Primary 0

Woodkirk Academy 86

Woodlands Primary 13

Woodlesford Primary 55

Wykebeck Primary <6

Yeadon Westfield Infants 14

Yeadon Westfield Junior 0

Total 3435