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Cornish Parents Face School Holiday Fines

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7:01am 9th September 2013

Some Cornish mums and dads are angry they face fines for taking children on holiday during term time.

Heads have been told only to allow absences in exceptional circumstances.

Parents who go ahead anyway face a charge of £60 per parent, per child.

It is part of a move to drive up standards by ensuring children miss fewer lessons.

But some parents say that means they will not be able to afford a summer break next year, because prices are always higher during the school holidays.

Tony from Launceston has four children. He said: "It's wrong because we take our children normally when it's not the school holidays. It's cheaper, it's not so busy, it's not so hectic. It's more practical for us.

"It's just a way to gather more money.

"There's more than school - they also have their family life. I have to work, my wife has to do her thing. We should be able to choose when we go on holiday and not feel like we're going to be punished for it."

The new move is a particular problem in Cornwall, where so many families are reliant on tourism for income.

That means that many parents find it more difficult to take time off during the school breaks because that is when their business is at its busiest.

Headteacher of Helston Community College Dr Pat McGovern said: "Issuing a penalty notices as a power give to headteachers - it's almost like clamping cars in the car park.

"As a deterrent it will certainly deter some people - but some people will just pay £120 and take students out of college because there is that much more of a saving.

"Children can miss whole chunks of syllabuses because they are not here. But there will exceptional circumstances, particularly here in Cornwall. We have significant numbers of parents who work in the holiday industry themselves and they can not go on holiday during holiday time. Family holidays are important."

7:01am 9th September 2013

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