School Penalty Fines and Authorised Absence — [Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:23 pm on 11th July 2016.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight 5:23 pm, 11th July 2016

That is something that headteachers should be aware of. Either Bradford is dictating to headteachers that they must do certain things, or it is the Department for Education’s decisions being interpreted in that way. The headteachers do have the authority, and they can say no.

I have great respect for the Minister for Schools. He has achieved some great things during his time in post, but I urge him to consider the outcome of this battle between David and Goliath and, even now, find another way forward, such as scrapping the school fines introduced in 2013 and trusting headteachers to do their job. If he will not do that, can he please tell us today what he will do if the Supreme Court agrees with the magistrates and the High Court and upholds their view—and mine—that an unauthorised family holiday does not necessarily allow the state to criminalise parents who otherwise ensure a child’s regular school attendance?

Finally, I would like to say that my constituent, Mr Platt, wished to be here for the debate but his daughter is taking part in her school sports day. As a responsible parent, who recognises that a wide range of experiences contributes to a good education, he has put attending the sports day ahead of being here today. He sends his apologies.