Lancashire

Lancashire school's '£1,000 holiday fine' warning denied

children on a beach
Image caption Currently penalty notices of £60 can be issued for unauthorised absences

A school's warning to parents that they could be fined £1,000 for taking their child on holiday during term time has been dismissed by the council.

The headteacher of Balladen Community Primary School in Rawtenstall told parents the penalty could be introduced as part of a pilot scheme.

But Lancashire County Council said no such figure "has been discussed by the authority, or even suggested".

The BBC has approached the school but it is yet to comment.

Currently, penalty notices of £120 per child can be issued for unauthorised absences of five days during one term.

The amount, set by the government, halves to £60 if paid within 21 days.

The council said the figure "continues to be the policy".

Image copyright Balladen Community Primary School
Image caption The headteacher of Balladen Community Primary School in Rawtenstall had suggested the figure in a letter to parents

It was widely reported in some newspapers that parents at the school could be fined up to £1,000 per child as part a trial system for dealing with unauthorised breaks during term time.

In a statement the authority said: "The county council supports and encourages schools to work with parents to reduce unauthorised absences.

"At the request of head teachers, informal discussions are currently ongoing with schools to look at ways to manage absence, in particular excessive time taken off school for holidays.

"At this stage considerations regarding possible changes are simply a way of gathering ideas.

"Our policy regarding absence from school has not changed and there are no plans for this to happen."

A council spokesman said 7,575 fines were issued for unauthorised absence during the last academic year in Lancashire, and attendance at both primary and secondary schools was 95.7%.

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