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The south's parents are fined thousands of pounds for taking children out of school

Kent, West Sussex and Surrey Councils are some of the highest in the country for fining parents over unauthorised school leave. Stricter government guidelines came in two years ago that made it harder to take children out of school during term time, to crack down on absence.

Many families say they can't afford to go away during school holidays Credit: ITV News Meridian

Since fines were introduced the number given out has trebled, with tens of thousands handed out last year alone. Here's a snapshot of the numbers of fines issued across the South.

  • Kent 4,366 fines
  • West Sussex 2,402 fines
  • East Sussex 2,131 fines
  • Surrey 1904
  • Wiltshire 736 fines
  • Brighton 726 fines
  • Southampton 677 fines
  • Poole 316 fines
  • Reading 170 fines
  • West Berkshire163 fines

Families can be charged up to £120 per child for unauthorised absence. Many parents argue they would rather pay the fine and take a holiday when its cheaper than pay a premium for trips during the school holidays.

The Local Government Association has called for change saying the system is unfair and calling for Headteachers to have greater flexibilty. However Schools Minister Nick Gibb has been quick to defend the rules saying missing school can affect grades.

Holiday makers look to relax at home

Holiday businesses in the South are reporting a boost in bookings, in a year of uncertainty for summer holidays.

The schools break up next week and many parents are revising holiday plans, following foreign office warnings of terrorism. But travel companies are trying to compensate, by offering holiday-makers cut-price deals.

Greece is still popular, despite its current debt crisis and protests in the streets of Athens. Andrew Pate reports.


  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

School holiday policy under fire

Would you risk your child being expelled from school to save money on your summer holiday? That's the threat parents at one school face if they take their children away during term.

The headteacher of Fleetdown primary in Dartford told us fining parents sixty pounds was no deterrent at all. Instead Angela Konarzewski says she's ready to expel children if they take a break when they should be at school.

Many parents have reacted angrily saying they can't afford to go away in school holidays.

David Johns reports, speaking to the headteacher and parents outside the school.

Fines not deterring parents from taking kids on holiday

Video. According to a survey out today, almost half of parents are willing to take their children on holiday during term-time, despite the threat of big fines. The Government has stopped head teachers giving children leave during term time, saying it disrupts their education.

But families say holidays are much too expensive in school breaks and they are being ripped off.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Suzie Balmbro, whose son Sam would struggle going away during busy times, Polly Honeychurch, a head teacher at a primary school in the South, Louise Hodges from Travelzoo and MP Michael Gove, Education Secretary.