Burnley schools handed out 756 fines to parents for unauthorised absences

Schools handed out 756 fines in Burnley in the last academic year
Schools handed out 756 fines in Burnley in the last academic year
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Primary and secondary schools in Burnley handed out a massive 756 fines to parents in the last academic year for unauthorised school absences.

The Burnley Express has discovered the extent of the fines issued, which cover absences including truancy and for parents taking their children on holiday during term time.

The revelation comes as education bosses at Lancashire County Council denied they were considering introducing £1,000 fines to parents who take their children on holiday during term time after rumours swept social media.

The emotive issue has been a huge talking point among parents in recent years, but the county council insisted the issuing of fines rested at the headteacher's discretion.

A county council spokesman said: "The decision to authorise absence or not rests with the headteacher of the particular school, and not with the county council. Penalty notices of £120 for each child, which reduces to £60 if paid within 21 days, are an enforcement option that are available to local authorities, if requested by schools. This continues to be the policy."

However, the Labour group on the county council accused the Conservative administration of causing chaos by backtracking on quotes given by Tory Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Coun. Susie Charles who had earlier said: "We are considering any possible action that could be taken in the future to reduce unauthorised absences. This is at an early stage."

Coun. Lorraine Beavers, Labour Deputy Children's Services, said: "This is just another example of the chaos being created by this Conservative administration. This is scare mongering of the worst kind and once again would put the council in an illegal position.

"What we need to be doing is working with the schools and parents. Not political posturing that may only damage the partnership required in order to establish a way forward that is in the best interest of the children's education.

"We have hard pressed families across Lancashire trying to do their best for their children. Faced with holiday prices trebling as soon as the schools break up. All parents want their children to have a good education.

"What would be helpful is a parliament select committee to consider the very high costs of holidays during school breaks. As many families who would want to take their families away can't afford it."