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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.


Proms in full swing

More than 90 per cent of schools hold some kind of prom for pupils after completing their GCSE exams. For many, it's a fitting reward for all their hard work. But it comes with an increasingly high price tag as parents fork out for dresses, transport, hairdos and makeup. Christine Alsford reports on all the fun, expense - and how many schools are now making attendance at prom conditional on good behaviour and hard work.

Her reports were filmed at the Mousetrap Dress shop in Havant - and at the prom for Woodlands Community College in Southampton.

Prom King and Queen Credit: ITV Meridian

Schools must do more to help young diabetics

Schools must do more to support young people living with Type 1 Diabetes, according to a survey carried out by the charity Diabetes UK.

The illness is incurable and can have devastating effects if it's not effectively managed.

Now, to mark Diabetes Week, a helpline is being launched to advise parents how to make sure their children get the care they need while they're at school.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Archie Norris, who has the disease, his father Simon, and Libby Dowling of Diabetes UK.

More academies - change for the better?

Every failing school across the South East will be forced to become an academy under new rules proposed by the government today. At the moment there has to be local consultation before conversion but that will be scrapped.

It means 16 schools in Kent graded as "inadequate" by Ofsted will be targeted - plus another four in Medway and seven across Sussex. Another seven on the Isle of Wight will be handed over to sponsors to improve their performance - plus a further five in Reading and three in Oxfordshire. So-called "coasting schools" where pupils may do well - but don't make as much progress as they should will also be targeted.

Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports

South's failing schools to be turned into academies

Failing schools across the South will be forced to turn into academies under new rules announced by the government.

Up to a thousand primary and secondary schools nationwide could be taken out of local government control if the new bill goes ahead. Critics say the proposals are undemocratic. Eastbrook Primary at Southwick in Sussex became an academy two years ago. Since then, results have improved dramatically. Here's what the headteacher Julia Sherlock had to say.


Schools across the south selected to welcome teams to Rugby World Cup 2015

Choirs from schools across the south have been selected to be part of the ceremonies that will officially welcome the teams to Rugby World Cup 2015.

The ceremonies will also include the formal presentation of official Tournament caps and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medals.

The schools were chosen following an application process, led by leading independent charity Youth Sport Trust, which was open to all schools in England and Wales.

With over 100 applications, the standard was very high resulting in a competitive judging process, which was carried out by Tournament Organisers, England Rugby 2015, the Youth Sport Trust and the RFU.

The successful schools include a mixture of state and private schools with both primary and secondary age groups involved. With schools selected from all around England and Wales, the Tournament reach continues to broaden with people across the UK joining to celebrate Rugby in its biggest year.

  • Westdene Primary School from Brighton will welcome Japan in Brighton
  • Eastbourne College will welcome South Africa in Eastbourne
  • Queen Elizabeth’s School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will welcome USA in Portsmouth

“We were really pleased with the response we’ve seen from schools wanting to be part of the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. The standard of the applications was very high and I would like to thank all schools that took the time to apply. We hope this will provide them with unforgettable memories and give them and the teams a fantastic Tournament experience.”

– Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Stephen Brown

"We are very excited to be able to offer this unique opportunity for schools to be involved in the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. We hope that it will impact not only the pupils performing, but the whole school to engage with the Tournament in a way that inspires learning. The Youth Sport Trust is delighted to support and work with England Rugby 2015 and we look forward to seeing great creativity in the school performances."

– Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive, Ali Oliver

Hampshire school offers education across the ages

The Westgate School in Winchester has opened Credit: ITV Meridian

Hampshire's first state school offering a new model of education right across the ages has officially opened its doors

The Westgate School in Winchester will teach children between four and 16. It has brand new primary school buildings.

The Westgate School in Winchester has opened Credit: ITV Meridian

It's hoped that it will help children make a smooth transition between primary and secondary education.

The school will share specialist teachers across the age range and older pupils will be role models to the little ones.

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