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Hey everyone,

 

I was hoping someone could give me a bit of advice (that I can give to my parents).

 

My younger brother and sister were absent from school for the last 3 days of the term in July (2 and a half really as the school closed at 12pm on the last day), because they and my parents went down south for a few days. This was the only time they were able to get off work and the only time they could afford to go away (they've had a pretty rough year and haven't had a real break in God-knows how long).

 

They submitted a holiday form to the school, and were never told that they weren't allowed to go so assumed everything was ok. However, they got in from work a couple of days ago and had a letter from the school with a £400 fine (£100 per child per parent), and a photocopy of the holiday form with 'Unauthorised' written on it, stating that if the fine isn't paid within 42 days they they will be taken to court.

 

Both my brother and sister have excellent grades and are in the top sets at school, this wasn't during an exam period, and in the last week all they do is watch DVDs anyway. This hasn't affected their performance in any way whatsoever.

 

Obviously my parents can't afford to pay this fine, and all it is doing by threatening them with court action is stressing them out even more, which they definitely don't need at the moment.

 

Is this fine allowed seeing as they submitted a holiday form and were never told that they couldn't have the time off? And is there any way in which they can appeal it?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

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What does this 'fine' say ?

 

It seems odd that the school would send a so-called fine and even odder if its before court, this sounds more like a speculative invoice, the likes of which we would see from RLP.

 

What legal authority (or contractual) does the school have for sending this ?

 

Clearly parents can be prosecuted and fines if children are absent, but that does not sound the case here.

 

Maybe you could scan this 'fine' and post it, removing your/any school details, as this could be sesnitive perhaps check with one of us admin. before posting.

 

Andy

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Hi Andy,

 

Thanks for replying so quickly.

 

I've just spoke to my mum and she said it's actually £50 per child per parent (so £200 total not £400) - it was my brother that told me it was £400. They're coming round mine later so I've asked her to bring it with her and I'll get it uploaded tonight.

 

Thanks again,

Simon

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Still sounds rather strange, I suppose that when a child goes to school there could be a 'contract' that allows them to ask parents to pay a cost if their child mises school but its not anything Ive heard of before.

 

Andy

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Hi

 

I would be writing to the school and asking for clarification of this speculative fine, as you followed the schools procedure by putting in a Holiday Request Form but they school has fail in its duty by not informing myself by letter that this request was not authorised by your school.

 

I require copies of the following:

 

1. Complaints Procedure.

2. Holiday Request Policy and Procedure.

3. Copies of the relevant Legislation and Acts of Parliment which cover this fine.

4. Appeals Policy and Procedure for the Fine.


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Penalty notices

As an alternative to prosecution, authorised local authority staff, police officers and headteachers can issue penalty notices to parents of children who are not attending school regularly. The penalty is £50, rising to £100 if not paid within 28 days. If you fail to pay a penalty fine, you will be prosecuted.

 

This seems designed to address repeat or problem non attendance. Not a first response to a one off. Is this just a one off?

 

A complaint to the Governors might be in order but I would be finding the money somehow in the meantime.

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Aha..thanks michael browne, that explains it quite clearly, I was unaware of that, it does though appear to be only used as an alternative to prosecution, and shouldnt be used for a single one off incident.

 

Andy

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