Don’t punish parents! Your views on fining families for term-time holidays

Stock picture of a classroom.
Stock picture of a classroom.
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Have your say

Parents should not be fined for taking their children out of school on holidays, according to many Echo readers.

Sunderland residents took to social media to express their opinion after we published figures revealing how nine parents have been prosecuted for keeping children out of school.

I was more focused on splashing in the pool or sea, and I suspect most children today are the same

Shaun Parker

The statistics, released by Sunderland’s Conservative group show that in the academic year 2014/15, 54 parents were issued with fixed penalty notices and six were prosecuted.

These figures have dropped during the current academic year with 48 people given fixed penalties and three being prosecuted.

In an Echo poll, in which almost 500 readers voted, 83% of those taking part said parents should not be prosecuted.

Jane Clark wrote on Facebook: “Okay for teachers to strike but not okay for parents to take their children out for a holiday, just another money making plan.

“Same as some school trips and holidays, (I) think children learn more away from school than at school.”

Steve Hadley asked: “Does that include teachers going on strike?”

However, Ted Smith, said teachers are entitled to take industrial action.

He said: “In fairness teachers should have the right to strike just like any other unionised workforce.

“I’m not a teacher but I know an awful lot and every single one of them puts a huge amount of time and their own money into making sure that kids have the best opportunity to learn and progress.”

He continued: “With regards to the holiday system now in place, it’s pathetic.

“Missing one week of school is not going to harm a child at all. People need to remember that the world is much bigger than little Britain and the things kids learn by going to other countries and engaging in their culture can be invaluable to them later in life.

“That little trip to Spain that a child goes on, which the education system thinks is a waste of time could spark an interest in speaking Spanish and that opens up an entire new world of opportunity.”

Chris Walls agreed, saying: “Isn’t going on holidays with your family a big part of your childhood.

“Yes school is massively important, but why should families who perhaps can’t afford to pay the over inflated prices of holidays in the school holiday periods have to suffer because of that?”

Tonya Olds said: “(I) totally agree. Surely a week away with your family is no different than a skiing trip organised by your school.

“A week away from ‘organised lessons’, but the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of a different language, culture, culinary experience.”

Shaun Parker had a different take on the amount of education taking place on holiday.

He said: “Not that I agree with punishing parents, but I can honestly say I didn’t really learn much as a child during my family holidays to Spain or wherever.

“I was more focused on splashing in the pool or sea, and I suspect most children today are the same.”

Lynda Campbell said parents should be punished for taking children out of school in term time.

“Absolutely,” she said. “Why bother having a set time to attend? Why not just have a drop in and kids and the parents could just go to school when they feel like it?”

Dave Ord added: “Yes – if they are breaking the law. (I’m) not saying I personally agree with the law, but it’s like driving while using a mobile phone, people chose to do it and deal with the consequences.

“If you know there is a possible legal repercussion and you do it anyway, you can’t really be upset that you got dealt with.”