YEP Says: Term time holiday fines should be more uniform

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the thorny issue of parents taking children out of school during term time is back.

An investigation by our education reporter, published today, shows how many fines were issued in Leeds, and that across Yorkshire it seems to be something of a postcode lottery, with some areas pursuing absences more vigorously than others.

It is likely more schools will fine parents, following the Supreme Court ruling earlier this month which upheld a fine imposed on a dad who took his children out of school.

There is sympathy for both parents and schools here though. Supply and demand economics mean the cost of holidays, home or abroad, are considerably cheaper in term times. And if you can afford a family holiday costing hundreds, or thousands of pounds, then a £60 fine is not going to put you off.

But schools have enough to do without having to chase and fine parents over absences and have extra work helping students who miss school to catch up.

There may be sound educational or personal reasons to take children out of school and each case should be considered on its merits to authorise an absence.

One parent, asked to explain a child’s absence, texted a picture of himself and his son on the beach in Dubai. That’s unacceptable. Education is a privilege, and one that we all pay for through our taxes, not something to be sneered at, but the approach to fining needs to be more uniform.