Parents fined £40,000 for kids missing school

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Parents across Sefton were fined more than £40,000 for failing to send their children to school last year.

Parents in the borough were fined more for unauthorised absences than anywhere else in Merseyside, with some 1,296 fines issued.

Some parents say they now actively budget for the cost of fines when planning holidays.

On average in the region, 18 penalties were issued per 1,000 children – whether for truancy or for parents taking children away on holiday during term time – during 2016-17.

In Sefton this was almost doubled, with 32.3 fines issued per 1,000 children.

Just 687 of the 1,296 parents have been paid the £60 fine – meaning the council collected a total of £41,220 on behalf of schools in the last academic year.

The figure has increased significantly from 2015/16, when 1,045 parents were fined and 424 paid.

How do penalties work?

Penalty notices can be issued for a number of reasons including truancy, holidays taken during term-time and pupils caught during “exclusion sweeps”.

It’s worth noting each penalty is issued per parent, per child. So, a two-parent family with two children would be fined £240.

The local authority acts on behalf of schools in issuing penalties, which rise to £120 if not paid within three weeks.

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