PARENTS of pupils at schools in the Test Valley area were collectively fined nearly £30,000 in the last 12 months for unauthorised absences.

Figures obtained by the Andover Advertiser from Test Valley Borough Council show they issued £28,000 in fixed penalty notices during the last year to parents taking their children out of school during term-time.

This equates to 466 individual £60 fines, although it could represent a smaller figure as some fines rise to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

Nationally, figures show there has been an increase in the number of fines handed out to parents in England for taking their children on term-time holidays, doubling in the last year.

Hampshire had one of the highest rates of fines handed out in south east England, with 6,616 fines given out in 2017/18, representing 40 fines per 1,000 children.

In Oxfordshire, just one fine per 1,000 pupils was handed out and in Wiltshire the figure was 18.

Surrey was slightly higher at 20 while Southampton was 50 fines per 1,000 pupils.

Parents have to gain permission from the headteacher to take their child out of school during term-time, and this can only be done if an application is made in advance and there are exceptional circumstances.

The local authority can issue a fine of £60 per child, which rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

If not paid within 28 days, the parents can be prosecuted for the child’s absence from school.

Councillor Roz Chadd, executive member for education and skills at Hampshire County Council, said: “We work closely with our schools, and in partnership with families, to prioritise good attendance to ensure all our children fully access their educational opportunities. As a result, attendance in Hampshire is higher than the national average. “Sometimes, it is necessary to issue a fixed penalty notice to parents of pupils who fail to attend school regularly. The requirement to issue penalty notices for unauthorised absence is laid down by law and schools use of this is usually following their work with parents to ensure regular and prompt attendance.”

“The income derived from penalty notices over the past 12 months in the Test Valley area was just over £28,000. All monies from penalty notice fines can only be used to support the services that improve school attendance.”

The increase nationally for unauthorised absence fines follows the high-profile case in April 2017 during which father Jon Platt lost his appeal against a fine for taking his daughter on holiday to Disney World.

He initially won a High Court case in May 2016, but the Supreme Court later ruled that parents cannot take children on term-time holidays without risking being fined.

Have you been fined for taking your child on holiday during term-time? Get in touch by emailing