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Kirklees raked in more than £130,000 from school term time fines last year

Numbers of parents being hit with the bill tripled to 2,391 in just two years, figures revealed

Kirklees Council made more than £133,000 out of parents fined for taking their children out of school last year.

The hefty sum was revealed alongside news that the numbers of parents in Kirklees being fined has tripled over two years.

The figures showed that 2,391 parents were hit with a bill after allowing their children time off during the school year ending in 2015.

Totted up, the total sum paid out by parents amounted to £133,800, while the staggering figure is three times that for 2012 to 2013, when 805 parents received the fines.

Mirfield mum reveals £1,000 fine for taking son out of school

The £60 fine for taking children on holiday in term time has raised heated debate since the Government introduced the legislation in 2013.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has demanded reforms on the rule.

Speaking in the House of Commons he said: “This is a very serious fundamental problem that we still squeeze the summer holidays into about a six-week period when British Airways charge the earth to go anywhere and Center Parcs will treble their rates.

“I am on the side of being tough but let’s look at this in a more fundamental way please.”

MP Barry Sheerman

Mirfield mum Melanie Brown is one of the parents who was fined after her son spent a week out of Castle Hall Academy setting up an animal rescue in the Spanish mountains.

After failing to cough up the £60 penalty, Melanie ended up being billed £1,000 by Kirklees Magistrates.

She said: “He actually did something that made a real difference and we were punished.”

Paddock father Justin Magu said he too was concerned about the fines as he was preparing to take his children to visit family in Zimbabwe.

“I can’t afford to pay the fines, so I am struggling with what to do”, he said.

Figures for Calderdale parents being fined have also seen a steep rise in two years, but are much lower than in Kirklees.

Huddersfield parents call for an end to term time holiday fines

Compared with 103 fines issued in 2012 to 2013, 394 parents were billed for going on holiday last year.

Parents in the area paid out £15,960 in fines last year.

In a statement, Kirklees Council said: “Successive governments have been concerned at the number of days lost as a result of parents taking their children out of school and, significantly, in September 2013 the legislation around ‘leave of absence’ was strengthened.

“The clear message from the Department for Education was that term time was for education.

“This resulted in a significant increase in the number of fines across the country and the number of fines in Kirklees followed this trend.”

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