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Southfleet couple fined £240 for taking sons out of school for holiday
A SOUTHFLEET couple have blasted Kent County Council for slapping them with a £240 fine for taking their two sons out of school for a holiday.
Tony and Alison Newton, of Hook Green Road, went to the Isle of Wight for a week with their sons Alfie, 13, and 15-year-old Tom.
Both boys are students at Longfield Academy, in Main Road, Longfield, and took five days off from October 1, which was unauthorised.
Mr Newton, a market porter for a fruit firm, said: "I work nights and can't get time off through the school holiday.
"I can't take time off from June to September because summer is the busiest time."
The 41-year-old added: "It's very important to have a holiday with the family and to have quality time together because I work six nights a week and don't see them a lot."
When the family returned from their trip both parents were hit with a £60 fine for each son.
Mr Newton told News Shopper: "It's very unfair.
"My kids have got very good school attendance.
"We didn't book because it's cheaper, it's just when I can get time off."
He added: "It's purely about making money.
"I said 'lets give the money to charity' but they told me 'we can't do that'.
"I don't want to pay but I might have to."
If the couple do not pay within 28 days, each fine will go up to £120 per child.
A KCC spokesman said: "Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, a parent is responsible for making sure that their child of compulsory school age receives efficient fulltime education that is suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have.
“This can be by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
Department for Education advice
UNDER current regulations, schools have discretion to grant leave of absence for up to 10 days (per school year) for family holidays during term time.
In exceptional circumstances they can agree more than 10 days.
Leave of absence must be applied for before the holiday and the decision to authorise absence for holidays rests entirely with the school and is not a right.
Parents can be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.