Hartlepool parents slam school over term-time holiday fines

Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School
Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School

PARENTS have reacted angrily after a town headteacher vowed to hand out fines as part of a strict crackdown on term-time holidays.

As reported in the Mail this week, Lynnfield Primary School headteacher Marian Fairley has warned parents they will be slapped with a £60 fine if they take their children on unauthorised holidays during term-time.

Letters have been sent out to parents explaining the move, which is said to be part of national recommendations.

The letter states: “If any holidays are taken without the headteacher’s authorisation, a fixed penalty notice of £60 will be issued.”

But angry parents were quick to air their views on the Mail’s website and Facebook page after the story was published earlier this week.

Jay Wilson wrote: “I’m taking my kids where I want, when I want and for how long I want.”

Another comment posted by Julie Briscoe simply said: “Shocking!”

Les Collinson questioned where the £60 fine would go while a number of parents said they simply can’t afford to pay the prices for a break during school holidays.

Jennifer Trathan said: “Going away during school holidays is ridiculously expensive. One holiday I booked for my daughter and myself a few years ago cost me £250 in May, during term time.

“The next year I priced the same holiday during August and it was almost £1,000 – four times as much.”

Lindsay Davies added: “It would still be cheaper to pay the £60 fine and go on holiday during school time than it would to pay for a holiday in the six weeks.”

The letter sent out to parents makes clear that all requests for absence will involve a meeting with the headteacher and if the request is refused, the reasons will be outlined in a letter to parents.

The request must be made before holidays are booked and only in exceptional circumstances will they be granted for Year 5 and 6 pupils.

The letter also went on to state that no holiday will be authorised if a child’s attendance falls below 95 per cent and only a maximum of 10 days holiday absence will be authorised in any school year.

Meanwhile, Julie Anne Smith commented on Facebook: “She doesn’t say you can’t take them away during term, she’s saying you have to follow the school procedure and fill a request form in beforehand. If you don’t you could be fined.”

But Ruth Grover says: “There’s more to education than learning in school. A good family holiday away is good for children too.

It’s horrendously expensive in school holidays, sort the travel industry out first.

“This head is so wrong here.”