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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 11th July 2016.

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Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay 4:30 pm, 11th July 2016

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. The one-size-fits-all blanket approach is draconian, and often penalises the wrong people and leaves no grounds for the school and headteachers to decide what is best for the individual child.

Just last week I spoke to a primary school headteacher in my constituency and was surprised by what he said:

“The best thing that could happen to some of the children in my school would be for their parents to take them” on a week’s holiday “even in term time”. That was a headteacher who knows the children at his school, knows the families and the pressures and challenges they face, and knows the community that they are a part of. I challenge the Minister: does he agree with that headteacher? Is there ever a case, a situation or a set of circumstances where the best thing for a child would be to miss a week of school in order to have a holiday with their parents?