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‘Stopping fines sends wrong message out’

Councillor Samantha Deakin, Ashfield Independents
Councillor Samantha Deakin, Ashfield Independents

Calls to suspend fining parents who take their children out of class during term-time while school holidays change have been rejected.

A motion was submitted to Nottinghamshire County Council calling for fines to be suspended when school holidays change.

Summer holidays are to be cut to five weeks, with the October half-term extended to a fortnight from 2019-20.

Councillor Samantha Deakin, Ashfield Independents member for Sutton Central & East and a single mum, said she was “disappointed” her party’s motion was rejected at a full meeting of the council.

The council said one of the main reasons the motion was not passed was because it “sends the wrong message to parents”.

Coun Deakin said: “I am the face of parents who genuinely struggle to take their kids away. We’ve not had a holiday for almost 10 years. I don’t want to get fined so we have to make do with days out.

“ I’m angry at holiday companies who rip people off. I’m angry schools are fining parents.”

Coun Philip Owen, council children and young people’s committee chairman, said: “Stopping fines for parents who take their children out of school during term-time sends the wrong message about the value we should put on our children’s education.

“The circumstances in which fines are issued are set by the schools themselves, taking into account the individual circumstances of each pupil.

“The arguments about the premium prices charged by holiday firms outside term time have been had for many years. It is not something government can control.”