Fine margins

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New figures suggest that a Government purge on parents taking youngsters out of school for term-time holidays is making a real impact.

Attendance figures are at their highest level for eight years, with persistent truancy rates down both in Sheffield and across the country.

The number of £60 fines issued meanwhile has soared by 70 per cent.

But many are not happy with the new regime, which says families must be fined if they break the rules, with absences only allowed in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The Local Government Association has spoken out against the system, calling for greater discretion and saying poorer families may be denied breaks at all due to the extra costs charged during school holidays.

Many heads are unhappy too, saying they aren’t allowed to use their common sense and use their discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Today’s story about former cancer patient Max Davies sums up the dilemma perfectly – is his family right to accept a charity’s offer of a free week’s holiday in term time, so incurring possible fines on their two children?

Or is it correct that schools consider taking firm action, so ensuring fair treatment for all? It’s a debate that will rage on.