Term-Time Holidays: Derbyshire County Council Introduces Interim Arrangements To Avoid Fines

Children's attendance has to be 94% or above.

A council in England has has temporarily abolished automatic fines for parents taking their kids on holiday during term time.

Derbyshire County Council has changed its rules while awaiting for the Supreme Court’s ruling on the fines given to parents.

Pupils in the area will be allowed to go on a term-time holiday as long as their total attendance over the previous year was 94% or above.

However, the council is recommending this should only be done in exceptional circumstances.

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A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “We strongly recommend that pupils should not be taken out of school during term time and do not endorse parents taking them on holiday when they should be in the classroom.

“We’ve approved new interim arrangements around unauthorised pupil absences following the Isle of Wight High Court ruling to provide schools with clear guidance to help them make decisions about when penalty notices should be issued.”

The spokesperson continued: “Even a small amount of time out of school can adversely affect pupils’ academic achievement and under the new arrangements penalty notices will continue to be issued where all absence, including illness and unauthorised holiday absence, results in an overall attendance of 94% or below.

“We believe the arrangements provide a fair and proportionate approach while we await the outcome of a Supreme Court ruling, but they do not change our view that pupils should not be taken out of school during term time and we do not condone parents taking their children on term-time holidays.”

The council changed its rules following Jon Platt’s victory at the High Court in May 2016. Platt had been fined £120 for taking his daughter to Florida, but successfully appealed the fine.

In the school year 2015/16, there were 2,806 penalty notices issued in Derbyshire and 2,676 were for unauthorised holidays.

This figure was down on 2014/15 when 3,174 fines were issued by the county council on behalf of schools. The majority were for unauthorised holidays.

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