Parents face jail for taking kids on term-time holiday

Mum and dad taken to court after refusing to pay fines for six-day trip

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Parents who took their children out of school in September for a holiday face being jailed after refusing to pay fines.

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Under the new laws that came into effect on September 1, Natasha and Stewart Sutherland were fined £360 for taking their 3 children out of school for 6 days.

But according to the Metro, they were unwilling to pay so the penalty doubled to £720.

Keane, 6, Sian, 13 and Rhiannan, 15, joined their mum and dad on a family holiday to the Greek island of Rhodes.

The trip could now cost them up to £2,000 in fines and both parents could be jailed for up to 3 months when they appear in court today.

But the couple say they booked the trip 11 months before the new laws came into force.

Stewart said: “At that point, I wasn’t even aware of the new legislation.

“We had a letter back warning we could be fined, but as the holiday was already booked and paid for what could I do?”

He added: “We haven’t been able to get leave in the school holidays at the same time for five years and we desperately needed a family break.

“I know how important education is but family time is important, too. The children’s behaviour and schooling has improved massively since our holiday.”

Telford and Wrekin council’s Kay Burford said the new legislation “clearly makes the point” that headteachers can’t grant leave in term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

What do you think of the new law?

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