SEVEN fines have been handed out to parents in Hartlepool who took their children on unauthorised term-time holidays since last September.
Changes brought in nationally by the Government came into effect at the start of the current academic year making it an offence for parents to take their children out of class during term-time without the school agreeing to each individual case.
In the past parents have been allowed to take their children out of school for up to 10 days each year if granted by the school’s headteacher, but now schools will only allow the time off in “exceptional circumstances”.
Despite the changes, many authorities have handed out record numbers of fines since the changes, but primary school headteachers in Hartlepool have praised parents after revealing there has only been seven £60 fines dished out since September last year.
Three of those fines have issued by Hartlepool Borough Council’s school attendance team to parents of children at Lynnfield Primary School, in Grosvenor Street, while one was handed out at Eldon Grove Academy.
Another fine was issued to a parent at Brougham Primary School and two at Throston Primary School, in Flint Walk, in the town.
Council bosses revealed six of the fines have been paid, while one is currently awaiting payment, but is within the 21 days timescale allowed.
The headteachers at the four town schools say they are “delighted” the majority of parents understand the need to have their children in class, but still aspire to be in a position where no fines are handed out.
In a joint statement, the headteachers of the four schools, said: “The national legislation was introduced to ensure that all pupils get the best possible start in life by getting a good education - and this can only be done if they are in school.
“We are delighted that the overwhelming majority of our parents and carers understand this and support us by only taking children away during school holidays and that there has therefore been little need for penalties to be levied.
“Naturally, we will only ever be totally satisfied if we can reach the position where no penalties have to be issued at all and we will continue to work with parents and carers towards achieving that goal.”