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23 Sep 2016

BY Tom Parry

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Derbyshire County Council in U-turn over term-time holiday policy

Derbyshire County Council is to largely abandon fining parents who take their children out of school for holidays during term time.

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The authority has confirmed its "interim arrangements", which state if attendance is above 94% - equivalent to missing 11 or 12 days - over the previous 12 months, will now only warrant a warning letter and not a fine.

 

Previously, over the 2014/2015 school year the council had sent out the fifth-highest number of fines in the UK – with more than 3,000 £60 per-child, per-week charges issued.

 

Katherine Boulton, the council’s service director for schools and learning, told BBC News: "We strongly recommend that pupils should not be taken out of school during term time.

 

"But there are always exceptional circumstances and the council believes these measures are fair and proportionate."

 

The change in policy follows a High Court ruling in May, which stated that a single holiday did not break rules on regular attendance.

 

Prior to the ruling, an increase in £60 fines has been seen after government guidelines said absences were only permitted in "exceptional circumstances".

 

The new High Court ruling, which is subject to an appeal, has now left education authorities free to decide how they wished to apply the existing rules, with a number of court cases subsequently dropped, BBC News reports.

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