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

Clearly we do not want a free-for-all. I am arguing for discretion to be put back into the hands of headteachers, which was the case before the rule was introduced in 2013. To my observation—I have been a school governor for nearly 20 years—it was working perfectly well. Even in a place such as Cornwall, where there was high demand for taking children away in term-time because parents worked in the tourist sector, there was still conversation and co-operation between the parent and the school. It was not a free-for-all. There was co-operation between parents and schools, and I am asking for the same now.

As the NAHT says, we are driving a wedge between the family and the school, which is damaging to, rather than supportive and encouraging of, children’s education. We are creating tensions between the school and the family, which has to be detrimental to the child’s education.