Fines for taking children out of school to increase across the country including in Bedford

The change is part of a national crackdown on school absence
Parents will now be fined more for taking their children out of school, without permission.Parents will now be fined more for taking their children out of school, without permission.
Parents will now be fined more for taking their children out of school, without permission.

Parental fines for taking children out of school will increase across the country, including in Bedford.

The Department for Education (DfE) has today (February 29) announced that parent fines will be brought under a national framework to “tackle inconsistencies in their uses”.

Under this framework, the fine for children who miss five days of school due to unauthorised absence will increase from £60 to £80 – if paid within in 21 days. Or from £120 to £160 if paid in 28 days.

The announcement is part of the Government’s national drive to “improve attendance and tackle persistent absence”.

Department for Education figures show Bedford Borough Council handed out 432 penalties to parents and guardians for their child's persistent absence in the 2022-23 academic year. Of them, 423 (98 per cent) were issued due to students being taken out of school for holidays – up from 366 the year before.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "Today we are taking that next step to further boost attendance and I want to thank those who are working with us including teachers and heads.

“Education standards have risen sharply across the country, with Ofsted ratings up from 68 percent to nearly 90 percent since 2010 - and pupils’ performance is ranked as some of the best globally - so it has never been more valuable to be in school.”

As part of today’s announcement, every state school in England will also have to share their daily attendance registers across the education sector - including with DfE, councils, and trusts.

The Government says the sharing of daily school registers will form a new attendance data, which is hoped will help schools spot and support children displaying trends of persistent absence or those in danger of becoming missing in education.

Schools, trusts and councils will be able to access this data via an interactive secure data dashboard maintained by the DfE.