UPDATE: Let us take kids on holiday during school term - petition attracts more than 100k signatures

New petition proves popular. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-161105-105703001
New petition proves popular. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-161105-105703001

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

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