02/08/2012 09:03 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Teacher Fined For Sending Daughter On Holiday During Term Time

Mum fined £50 for sending daughter on holiday during term time MEN

A teacher mum who let her daughter take holiday during term-time – despite protests from the school – has been hit with a £50 fine.

Brenda Branch said she couldn't afford to take her family away in the official summer holidays and argued that her 12-year-old daughter Serena had finished her exams and was just sitting around watching videos.

However, when she asked for permission to keep Serena out of Philips High in Whitefield, Bury, she was refused.

But Brenda – herself a teacher – decided to send Serena on holiday anyway.

The girl went with her grandparents and cousin to Butlins in Skegness.

Now her parents have been given a fixed penalty notice by Bury council for the six days unauthorised absence.

Brenda told her local newspaper: "I am a teacher myself and I know that not a lot of work gets done at the end of the year.

"They told me it was not school policy, but they could show a bit of flexibility. All exams were finished. I didn't want Serena to be disappointed so I let her go."

Brenda, 44, said her daughter had a 99 per cent attendance record and has received a number of awards for her school work.

She said that she and her husband, Garry, 47, who works for Salford council's social services department, could not afford to take their three daughters, including Serena, away during the summer holidays.

It meant the break in Butlins would have been the only holiday Serena had this year.

Serena said she thought the fine was unfair.

"I spoke to my friends and they said they had just watched movies, and played games and not done much work while I was away," she said.

However, Chris Trees, head teacher at the 894-pupil school, said that absences during term time were only granted in 'exceptional circumstances' such as family bereavements.

He added: "It's not true that the kids were just sitting around watching the videos. A lot of classes were carrying on with their work."

The Government has looked at plans to clamp down truancy after a report showed holiday absence made up 9.5 per cent of all school absence, up from 9.3 per cent the previous year.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, councils have the power to fine parents if their child takes an unauthorised holiday from school. Fines are an initial £50 if paid within 28 days – rising to £100. Parents can be taken to court if they don't pay.

More on Parentdish: Do you take your children on holidays in term time?

What do you think? Rules are rules or the reality is children do no work at the end of term?