MORE than £100,000 has been paid out by parents to the council in the last year over school absences.

In the last school year, more than 2,000 parents have been perused by Brighton and Hove City Council for taking their children out of school.

The council has the authority to take parents to issue out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for unauthorised school absences.

Between September 2018 to July 2019, the council collected £121,140 from parents using FPNs, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

In during the previous school year, £112,950 was collected.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools work very hard on ensuring that pupils don’t miss school because good attendance is such a crucial factor in children achieving good results.

“The last thing schools want is for parents to be issued with fines but unauthorised absences disrupt carefully planned programmes of study and add to teacher workload as they then have to help those pupils catch up.

“If everybody took their children out of school on term time holidays it would be unmanageable chaos.

“Thankfully, most parents do not do this, and we think it is reasonable that there is a penalty for the small number who do so.

“It is an imperfect solution because it is obvious that some parents continue to take their children out of school, but it at least provides some form of deterrence.”

The Freedom of Information request revealed there were 8 fines issued for persistent lateness, whereby a student repeatedly arrives after the register.

In the previous year, this was 17.

There were 1,985 fines for unauthorised leave in term time, whereby a student is taken out of school for a holiday.

This is compared to 1,773 the year before.

Parents were fined 218 times “general unauthorised absence”, which the council defines as “parentally condoned absence”.

In the previous year, this was 211.

To force parents to pay the fines, the council can instigate court action.

This happens when the fines are not paid within a 28 day period.

This happened 20 times in the last school year and 61 times in the year before.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: ““We administer school absence fines in accordance with government guidance.

“We only issues fines when a school makes a referral to us due to absence or absences that have not been authorised by the school.

“The money we get from the fines is used to help pay for the statutory functions of our school attendance service.”