THERE has been a massive increase in the number of parents fined this year in Leeds as a result of a crackdown on children being taken out of school during term time.
Nationally the number of fines issued to parents for their children’s absence has risen by around 70 per cent according to a new national survey.
However the number of parents fined in the city has increased almost ten fold.
In 2012/13 there were 93 fines issued by the city council but this has soared to 821 in 2013/14.
Nationally just under 64,000 fines were handed out between September and July, compared to 37,650 in the previous academic year, the research carried out by the BBC found.
Tougher guidelines from the Department for Education which effectively ban children being taken out of school for holidays during term-time were introduced by the Government in September last year.
Fines are issued by the local authorities on behalf of schools in their area.
Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for children and families said: “The increase in the number of fines we have issued is a result of new government legislation which was introduced last September, which removed head teachers’ discretion to authorise any absence during term time for holidays.
“Head teachers have no choice but to comply with the legislation. However, the figures seem to tell us that the majority of parents are taking notice of the new legislation as we had the best ever attendance in the autumn term and a fall in absence due to holidays.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb said attendance had improved since the ban was introduced.
He said: “When the Government came to office, the number of children missing school regularly was far too high.
“As a result of the changes we have implemented, 130,000 fewer pupils are regularly missing lessons, which means 130,000 more pupils getting the chance of a good education that prepares them for life in modern Britain.”