1. ITV Report

Parents fined £630 for taking kids on holiday in school term time

Stewart Sutherland and his wife Natasha leave Telford Magistrates' Court in Shropshire Photo: PA Wire

A couple from Shropshire have been fined hundreds of pounds for taking their three children on holiday during term time without their school's permission.

Stewart and Natasha Sutherland took their children out of school for a week-long holiday to Greece last year.

New regulations under Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act mean that schools are not obliged to give pupils leave during term, except in "exceptional circumstances".

The parents were fined £630 in addition to legal costs and a victim surcharge, bringing the total to £993.

Stewart and Natasha Sutherland Credit: ITV News Central

Although they wrote to the school ahead of time, the holiday was not authorised and the couple were warned they could be fined.

Mr Sutherland told the Daily Mail: "We had a letter back warning that as the time off was not authorised we could be fined, but the holiday was already booked and paid for - what could I do?"

After refusing to pay the initial fine of £360, the council doubled the penalty to £720 after 21 days. The dispute eventually ended up at Telford Magistrates' Court where the fine was upheld.

Mr Sutherland, a Ministry of Defence guard, told ITV Central that he could not take time off during the summer holiday period because of his shift work.

In a statement, Telford & Wrekin Council said the policy reflected the "national and local priority of raising the educational achievement and attainment of pupils".

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said that poor attendance at school can have a "hugely damaging effect" on pupils and their GCSE results.