YEP Letters: August 13

Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters.

School holiday fines are an absolute joke

Clare Mallory, by email

Re yesterday’s article on term time holidays.

The story gives the impression that headteachers have no say in the decision to fine patents and that fines are issued automatically by the local authority, via a “blanket approach”.

However, whilst it is true that headteachers no longer have discretion to authorise family holidays in term time, it is entirely their decision whether to send in a request for a parent to be fined.

Penalty notices are only issued if the headteacher has submitted a written request via a referral form.

The local authority does not have a system which alerts it to poor attendance of pupils, they rely solely on the individual heads submitting their requests.

So basically headteachers can pick and choose who they wish to inflict a penalty notice on and who they choose not to, with the local authority simply doing as told and keeping the cash.

Last year I took my two children out of school for a family holiday, (which was booked and largely paid for prior to the changes in legislation). Six month later I received a fine but for one child only.

Confused by this I asked 
the question as to how the process worked and 
requested a copy of the policy document.

This document confirms the above and judging by the number of times it uses the phrase “You MAY receive a fine “... rather than “you WILL receive a fine” implies that the policy does not apply to everyone in an equal and fair manner.

What annoyed me the most was the fact that the high school used its description and obviously decided that as my child had 100 per cent attendance it would not request a fine be sent.

But the primary school didn’t care and went ahead with the request to fine me.

Even though the same head teacher has allowed others to go on holiday with no fine issued.

It is a joke.

You can’t go on blaming Labour

Mel Haigh, LS14

It’s astonishing, but it seems your readership still needs to blame the last Labour government for all the ills in the world, even now, although we’ve had a Tory puppet government in place since May and before that the most inept government this country has ever had, this can only be in an effort to make this “responsible” current crop appear more benign.

Even though it’s been stated many times that austerity measures are not needed and are only affecting the most vulnerable in society, we still have hard line right-wingers telling us it’s for the good of the people.

They’re also blaming the last Labour government for the current immigration problem, this despite it being proven that immigration did in fact rise under the coalition government. That’s a nice 
piece of spin right there, isn’t 

What this country has really never recovered from is Thatcher and Major turning us from being a trading nation into one reliant on imports, the selling off of all the 
publicly owned companies to make the economy look better and to keep their rich chums 

Even to this day we’re feeling the effects of these policies, hence why our utility bills are so high and why our public transport systems are woeful.

That’s the legacy we leave for our grandchildren and I’m sure everyone not looking though blue tinted glasses is fully aware of who’s to blame.

That’s the root cause of our present day problems.

Music legend still touring

John Appleyard, Liversedge

Listened to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour recently and was pleased to hear an interview with singer/songwriter Buffy Saint Marie who came to my attention in the 1960s with the protest song Universal Soldier, which she wrote because the American Government 
denied it was at war with Vietnam.

But it was her song Soldier Blue, written for the film of the same name in 1970 on the massacre by the US Army of the Cheyenne at Sand Creek, which for the first time showed how the West was really won with this brutal destruction of an Indian village.

Buffy Saint Marie is still touring and writing new music, good luck to her.

Pub could have stayed open

Gary Endeacott, Leeds

I THINK it’s a disgrace that they shut the Spring Close pub two years ago for development and to date they don’t have planning permission for the said site, people have lost their jobs and livelyhood because of this kind of thing happening all over the country.

The Spring Close could have stayed open for another two years and people could have still been named work.its a disgrace that the council is letting this happen.

Call to all new students

Rosie Heaton, Leeds student

At Meningitis Now we’d like to congratulate all local students who will learn today that they have got the grades they need 
to go to university this autumn.

For many of you, this will be your first experience of living away from home and the first time you have taken responsibility for your own health and wellbeing.

As part of this, can we please encourage you to be meningitis aware.

Getting vaccinated with the new ACWY vaccine, available now free on the NHS, and knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for will save lives.

Download one of our free apps giving the signs and symptoms of meningitis 
and septicaemia (blood 
poisoning), or carry one of our handy purse or wallet-sized cards.

Up to a quarter of first-year students carry the bacteria that can cause the disease in the back of their throats, compared with one in 10 of the general population.

This puts students starting university and mixing with 
lots of new people at increased risk.

Students should also make sure their immunisations are up to date by checking with their doctor before they go away to study.

To request a card or to download our free app visit or call our freephone helpline on 0808 80 10 388.