A petition lodged with Parliament to allow parents to take children out of school during term time has attracted more than 100,000 signatures, with hundreds from people across Sussex.
The present rules, introduced in 2013, mean that parents must file an application with their child’s headteacher in advance if they wish to go on holiday during term time. The headteacher makes the decision on whether the absence will be approved, with guidelines allowing holidays to be signed off under exceptional circumstances.
Parents who don’t follow the rules can be fined by their local council. The penalty of £60 will rise to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days and parents can be prosecuted if the fine is still outstanding after 28 days.
The Government is yet to respond to the petition, but commits to responding to all petitions that receive more than 10,000 signatures. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.
People across Sussex have been quick to sign up, with the Crawley area leading the way on 457 signatures.
Figures from other districts include:
Eastbourne - 212
Mid Sussex - 200
Lewes - 138
Hastings and Rye - 213
Horsham - 168
Bognor and Littlehampton - 244
Chichester - 130
Worthing West - 145
Hastings and Rye - 177
Bexhill and Battle - 179
Wealden - 186
Arundel and South Downs - 158
The petition was created by a Mr Dave Hedley, whose family has run foul of the rules: “Myself and my wife received a fine for our two eldest children (two fines each parent) for taking our children on holiday for 5 days in term time which was the only week free from surgery and radiotherapy.
“This apparently is not an exceptional circumstance. The council quote is S.444 A or 1 of the Education act 1996 which in its own term indicates truancy and not a one off family holiday. Councils are too ready to fine and wont (sic) consider exceptional circumstances.”
The school in question apparently knew of the cancer diagnosis which Mr Hedley, from Nottinghamshire, feels should be considered an exceptional circumstance.
You can sign the petition here
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.