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Parents ordered to pay after taking their children out of school - and there could be more to come

Three families were fined after going on holiday without permission

Kirklees Magistrates Court, Huddersfield.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Parents have been ordered to pay fines worth hundreds of pounds after taking their children out of school without permission.

Three families are facing hefty bills following the decisions made by Kirklees magistrates at a hearing on Wednesday.

The Huddersfield court heard a school was so concerned by one child’s unexplained absence that it considered reporting him as missing to police.

All of the children were taken out of school for holidays during term-time, magistrates heard.

The parents were hit with heavy fines after failing to pay £60 fixed penalties - then missing the court hearing.

In all three cases the offence of failing to ensure that their child attended regularly at school was found proven in their absence.

Tamara Russell, of Bradley Road in Bradley, faced one charge. She took the North Huddersfield Trust School pupil out of school between October 19 and November 4, magistrates were told.

No reason was given for the absence and the school considered reporting the child as missing.

Concerned school staff arranged a few visits to the family home but this was deserted. When the boy, whose absence brought his attendance down to 88% , returned to school he admitted that he’d been on holiday.

In another case Anthony Newsome, of Nettleton Avenue in Mirfield, took his three children out of their schools for a holiday between November 10 and 25.

He asked for permission from the headteachers at Castle Hall Academy and Ravensthorpe Junior School but when this was refused he took them anyway.

Richard Preston, of Withens Road in Birstall, took his son on a holiday to France - just a week before his school was due to break up for Christmas.

The boy missed classes at Fieldhead Primary Academy between December 2 and 9, after permission was rejected by the school.

The parents were summoned to court after refusing to pay a £60 fixed penalty notice which then doubled to £120 when this was not paid.

Newsome was fined £440 and told to pay £155 prosecution costs plus £44 victim surcharge.

Magistrates ordered Preston and Russell to each pay £220 fine, £121 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

All of the parents were given 28 days to pay this in full.

The cases of dozens of local parents facing similar charges had been adjourned pending the outcome of Isle of White father Jon Platt’s long-running legal battle to take his daughter to Disney World Florida during term-time.

Last month he was convicted of failing to ensure her regular attendance at school after losing an earlier legal challenge at the Supreme Court in April, despite winning previous legal battles in a case brought by Isle of Wight Council.

Late last year Kirklees Council prosecutor Miles Barker criticised the long wait by parents to see if they would be prosecuted as “unsatisfactory”.

He said: “I’ve written to my local MP as this is ridiculous - it’s not right that people have this hanging over their heads.”

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