Parents fined for absent children in Cumbria

Parents of pupils at a Cumbrian school have been warned they will be fined £50 if they take their children out of classes without approval.

The policy has been introduced at Brampton Primary in Brampton to reduce unauthorised absenteeism.

Parents were also warned in a letter that if they refused to pay the fine they could be taken to court.

Cumbria County Council confirmed that it is left to a head teacher's discretion whether to introduce fines.

The fine is for each child, and will increase to £100 if not paid within 28 days.

The letter sent to parents states that "time off during term is not an automatic right" and is only granted in exceptional circumstances. It also notes that "cheaper holiday prices" are not a suitable reason to request time off.

Parents must now request an absence by filling in a form and having a meeting with the head teacher to explain the reasons for the request.

The fine will be implemented if the head teacher has refused permission and the parent removes the child from school anyway.

In the letter to parents, the school said an average of 80% attendance over the course of five years means a child will miss the equivalent of one year of school, and this is why it has introduced the new policy.

Cumbria County Council said this practice was not uncommon and the right exists for every school to impose fines, and their introduction is at the discretion of the head teacher.

Brampton Primary School has refused to comment.

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