The school holidays will shortly be over and kids will be heading back to start a new school year.
With this comes the planning and prep for next year’s holiday and the eye-watering prices of trips away during half terms and school holidays.
However, in 2013, the government introduced fines for parents for taking children away for unauthorised absences, in a bid to stop parents from being tempted to take children out of school early.
These fines are levied by local authorities, such as Leeds Council.
Government legislation means that schools are not allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school for a holiday during term time.
Requests for leave can only be granted by schools in exceptional circumstances, but holidays are not considered exceptional.
Any requests for leave must be made to the school in advance, as the Department for Education has told schools that they cannot authorise any absences after they have already been taken.
A penalty notice is a fine to parents or carers if they fail to ensure that their child or children attend school regularly.
Your local council can give you a fine of £60 per child, which rises to £120 if you don’t pay within 21 days. This then has to be paid within 7 days.
If you don’t pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school.
However, Leeds City Council told the Yorkshire Evening Post that it does not trigger the fines until a child has had unauthorised absences of 5 days or more within any 12 week period.
A spokesman said: "A penalty notice is a fine issued to parents or carers if they fail to ensure that their child or children attend school regularly.
"This could be due to a holiday in term time or other periods of absence that are not authorised by their child’s school.
However, criteria for penalty fines may differ between councils.
Every local authority must draw up and publish a code of conduct for issuing penalty notices, after consulting all schools (including academies) and the police.
Prosecution in court
Unpaid fines could lead to a prosecution in court and you could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months.
The court also gives you a Parenting Order.
For more information and to check your local council’s rules on fines visit: gov.uk/school-attendance-absence/legal-action-to-enforce-school-attendance