Norfolk

Norwich parents guilty of term time holiday but escape fine

Matt and Kerry Thomas of Norwich
Image caption Matt and Kerry Thomas, of Norwich, were found guilty by magistrates in Norwich

A couple have escaped a fine despite being found guilty of taking their children on holiday during term time.

Matt and Kerry Thomas, of Drayton Road in Norwich, were fined £120 by Norfolk County Council following a week-long trip to Majorca last summer.

The pair were found guilty by magistrates in Norwich of failing to ensure regular school attendance.

They were given a nine-month conditional discharge and told to pay £20 each in victim surcharge.

The court did not fine the couple or demand they pay the costs of the case, which related to their two children aged 14 and 11 years old.

In reaching their verdict, the magistrates said they were mindful this was the only holiday the parents had ever taken with their children.

'Punished'

Speaking outside court Mr Thomas said: "Parents should not be punished for taking their kids on holiday, especially if it is a once in a lifetime thing.

"If there is going to be a holiday tax they should call it a holiday tax."

The couple said their £1,800 holiday would have cost more than £3,000 during school holiday time.

Speaking previously to the BBC, Norfolk County Council said: "It is head teachers themselves who decide whether or not to take action about absences in their schools.

"They can choose whether or not to follow the local authority guidance."

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