Concerns raised at increase in fines for unauthorised absences in Cornwall Schools

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has raised concerns at the large year on year increase in the number of fines issued by Cornwall Council to parents whose children have had holidays during school term time.

Figures acquired under Freedom of Information requests show that 377 fines were  issued for the 2017/18 year, going up to 685 to date for 2018/19. These are huge increases from the figures for 2015/16, when 5 fines were issued, and 2016/17 when just 4 were issued.

Commenting, Steve, who had long campaigned against this policy, said:

“I am very concerned about these figures and the undoubted impact they will have on hard-working parents, whose only option is often to take their children away during term time due to the seasonal nature of working in Cornwall.”

“It is disappointing, given the challenges of our often seasonal and tourist based economy in Cornwall, that these fines continue to rise, and also it clearly shows that they are simply not working as a deterrent. Whilst I continue to fight against this policy from government, it is disappointing that local schools and Cornwall Council do not take a more flexible approach to this matter given the nature of our tourism based economy.”

“These fines have also generated tens of thousands of pounds of revenue for Cornwall Council and I will be asking questions on how this money is being spent.”