Term-time holiday fines treble for Doncaster parents

Tim Mettam and his wife Karen have been fined �360 for taking their children Jamie, 14, Daniel, 13, and Joshua, 12, out of Balby Carr Community Academy during term time for a holiday.
Tim Mettam and his wife Karen have been fined �360 for taking their children Jamie, 14, Daniel, 13, and Joshua, 12, out of Balby Carr Community Academy during term time for a holiday.

More than 2,000 fines were handed out to parents in Doncaster for taking their children out of school during term time in the past academic year.

An investigation by the Press Association revealed the town has the second highest fines rate in the whole country – with some 2,177 penalties handed out.

Too many children in Doncaster are absent from school and attendance remains below the national average

The number of fines given to parents for taking their children on holiday during term time has almost trebled in two years across the country.

Doncaster parents Tim and Karen Mettam have previously been fined £360 for taking their children, Jamie, 14, Daniel, 13 and Joshua, 12, on holiday in school time.

Tim said: “I’m surprised by the figure, it’s a lot higher than I expected.

“But this won’t stop parents from taking their children out of school. They do it because they want family time and nothing will deter them from that.

“Doncaster figures are a lot higher than surrounding areas, like Rotherham and Barnsley, and I’m not sure why that is.

“Perhaps parents are only being fined because that’s what the red tape says.”

Jo Moxon, assistant director of learning and achievement at Doncaster Council, said: “Headteachers are responsible for deciding whether a fine should be issued to parents, based on guidance from the Department for Education and each case should be judged individually.

“Doncaster Council’s role is to administer the fines system and any funds received are reinvested in improving attendance. Currently, too many children in Doncaster are absent from school and attendance remains below the national average.

“This does need to be addressed as it is likely to have a significant impact on the children affected and their ability to secure a bright future for themselves and their families.”

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the last academic year alone, at least 50,414 penalty notices were issued to parents nationally due to children being taken out of lessons for holidays.

Councils said schools across the country have been handing out more fines as part of a crackdown by the government’s Department for Education and regulators Ofsted on term-time absences.

Critics have argued that the rules have the biggest impact on those who cannot afford high travel costs during school breaks and families with parents who work shifts.