'Can we fine teachers £80 for strike days?' Parents' fury as government hikes ... trends now

'Can we fine teachers £80 for strike days?' Parents' fury as government hikes ... trends now
'Can we fine teachers £80 for strike days?' Parents' fury as government hikes ... trends now

'Can we fine teachers £80 for strike days?' Parents' fury as government hikes ... trends now

Parents are expressing fury as the government wages war on term-time holidays by hiking penalties for families who take children out of class without permission.

Angry families have asked whether teachers could be given similar £80 fines for taking days off on strike, after the new crackdown was announced by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

Parents are to face increased fines of £80 if they take their children out of lessons for a family break - a 33 per cent rise from the existing £60 sanction.

There has been a backlash to the plans, with parents suggesting they would continue to risk fines rather than pay extortionate holiday prices during school holidays.

And Manchester headteacher Karl Harrison told the BBC: 'If you are saving £1,000 on a holiday, what's an extra £20 in a fine?'

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (pictured) has launched a new war on term-time holidays by introducing a 33 per cent rise in the penalty from £60

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (pictured) has launched a new war on term-time holidays by introducing a 33 per cent rise in the penalty from £60

Angry families have asked whether teachers could be given similar fines for strike days

Angry families have asked whether teachers could be given similar fines for strike days

One parent posted online: 'Can parents fine teachers £80 EACH per strike day taken making kids miss class too?

'Teacher strikes are unauthorised absences too for the kids. Ridiculous and unfair.'

Another wrote: 'Schools with a bullying problem, un-qualified teachers, classrooms with leaky dangerous roofs! Maybe fix that before fining parents.'

Other critics described the increased fines as 'just another government fundraising exercise'

A poster on X, formerly Twitter, also addressed the Prime Minister and the Chancellor by writing: 'Must be nice to be Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt - I bet they never get fined for it for their private school kids.

'One rule for one as always. Fourteen years of under-funding and schools are on their knees - then attacking parents for taking kids on holiday.'

And John D Haslam wrote: ‘How about making holiday firms not take the mickey with prices during school holidays?

‘As long as it’s cheaper to go on holiday term time people will take their kids out of school.

‘If it’s a toss-up of saving a grand and paying a £60 fine, guess what people will do.’

The new move by Mrs Keegan comes amid a focus on improving attendance after standards slipped during the pandemic and schools triggered fewer fines.

The Government is also now specifying that a period of five days of unauthorised leave must be the prompt for considering a fine.

 

The plans to hike fines for parents taking children out of school have prompted a backlash

The plans to hike fines for parents taking children out of school have prompted a backlash

The sanctions were first announced in 2013 by then-Education Secretary Michael Gove

The sanctions were first announced in 2013 by then-Education Secretary Michael Gove

The announcement signals a return to the tough stance of Mrs Keegan's predecessor Michael Gove, who originally introduced the fines in 2013.

Mrs Keegan said: 'Our fantastic schools and teachers unlock children's imagination, potential and social skills which is why improving attendance is my number one priority.

'Today we are taking that next step to further boost attendance and I want to thank those who are working with us including teachers and heads.

'It has never been more valuable to be in school.' The rise in fines is the first in nine years, following a period of high inflation.

For parents who fail to pay within the first 21 days, the fine will increase to £160 - rather than the £120 previously.

Those who continue to refuse to pay can be prosecuted through the magistrates' courts.

However, it is understood that fines will only be used where parents are deliberately flouting the rules - for example, with a term-time holiday - rather

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