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Govt: Taking children out of school 'a criminal offence'

The Department for Education has stressed taking children out of school during term time without permission "is a criminal offence".

A spokesperson said parents "should not discount a penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday" after a skiing holiday firm offered to refund any fines incurred.

A skiing holiday firm has offered to pay any fines parents are given for taking their children on holiday during term time. Credit: Patrick Seeger/DPA/Press Association Images

"Taking children out of school without permission for a holiday is a criminal offence," the department said.

"When doing so, parents are risking prosecution which could mean much higher financial penalties and a criminal record."

Government 'acted as soon as it received allegations'

The Department for Education has defended its free schools initiative following the arrest of a man in connection with alleged fraud at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, one of its flagship free schools.

A spokesman said the "vast majority" of free schools are performing well and "all free schools are held to rigorous account", adding that the department acted as soon as it received allegations of wrongdoing at the academy.

The department acted as soon as it received allegations of wrongdoing at Kings Science Academy.

We formally investigated and referred the case to Action Fraud. This resulted in a police investigation which is ongoing. Separately we are recovering appropriate funds.

All free schools are held to rigorous account. The vast majority are performing well with three-quarters rated good or outstanding. But where there is failure we will not hesitate to intervene.

– Department for Education spokesman
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