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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

Govt: Rochdale abuse report 'does not meet standards'

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

This Serious Case Review, which has been heavily redacted, does not meet the standards of transparency and sharp analysis which we now expect and which best allows lessons to be learnt.

We understand there are particular legal constraints which have resulted in the heavy redactions.

We have consequently agreed with Rochdale LSCB that we will commission, early in the New Year, an examination of the evidence assembled by the SCR to explore whether an un-redacted document can be put into the public domain with a sharp and coherent analysis of what happened in this complex case and why.

English primary schools 'failing in three Rs'

More than 700 primary schools in England fall below the Government's new tougher standards in reading, writing and arithmetic, Department for Education figures suggest.

Hundreds of English primary schools are failing to meet targets in reading, writing and arithmetic, official figures suggest. Credit: PA

For the first time, schools are judged on the number of children achieving at least a Level 4 - the standard expected of the age group - in reading, writing and maths.

They must ensure that at least 60% of pupils reach this level in all three subjects and meet national averages in pupil progress.

In previous years, they were rated on reading and writing combined to form an overall English result and maths, as well as progress.

The 767 schools that fail to meet the target are considered under-performing and face being taken over and turned into academies.

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