A MUM claims she has been made to feel like a criminal after she took her children on holiday during term time and returned to a £240 penalty fine.
Jodi Ing is one of almost 100 parents to have been fined for choosing a vacation over education – and she now wants a change in the school holiday system.
Jodi and husband Andy took their children – Kisbee and Joolz – on a skiing holiday to France during the first week of term in January.
And Jodi claims that despite informing the children’s school – Much Birch CofE Primary School – last year that the holiday was planned, she received penalty notices totalling £240.
She said: “It does make you sound like a criminal and I don’t think it’s a criminal act. I wouldn’t mind so much if the kids were struggling but they work really hard when they are at school.”
She said it seemed inappropriate to fine “conscientious” parents who take their children’s education seriously but who also see the value of raising “well-rounded, confident and happy children – on a budget”.
But the Ings are not the only family to be penalised for unauthorised absences.
Ninety-seven fines were issued by Herefordshire Council between September and December 2013 – 75 per cent up on the same period in 2012.
Tougher government rules introduced in September might well have contributed to the clamp down.
But Jodi has a novel idea to resolve the problem and is suggesting that schools shorten their summer holiday by one week to allow everybody one week to take in term time.
“I understand that the children have school holidays and in an ideal world family holidays could be taken then, but it is also known that the prices become expensive then.”
Fines vary between £60 and £120, depending on the speed of payment – wiping out savings parents made on any holiday.
Herefordshire Council can issue penalty notices if a school asks them to do so.
Much Birch Primary had not responded to the Hereford Times at the time of going to press.