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Man Quits Job over School Holiday Fine

A car salesman from Plymouth, Devon has resigned from his job after he was fined for taking his daughter out of school for a family holiday.

Jason Short, 41, is furious after he booked a holiday to Turkey over 12 months ago and went for a fortnight in June – the only time he could take out of work.

He said he explained the situation to the teachers at Salisbury Road Primary School in Plymouth, Devon, where his daughter attends and was told not to worry about taking his daughter out of school during term time, but he was later hit with a substantial fine.

When the family of four returned home, they found they had received a letter stating they would be fined over £120 for taking Madeleine, who is seven years old, out of school without prior written permission.

Jason paid the fine to avoid ending up in court and potentially damaging his future job prospects, but has otherwise reported to local news outlets that he was now leaving his job in October in order to be able to take his family away during the school holidays – avoiding any future fines.

He was quoted as saying, “I want a family life and my job is not centred around school holidays.”

Mr Short is considering a career change in order to have a better work/life balance. He said his new job role – working with his brother in the property market – pays less but will also mean he doesn’t have to pay as much tax.

He continued, saying that if he gets fined for taking his daughter on holiday again, he will ‘cause a fuss’ by counting out the money for the fine in one pound coins and presenting it to the council.

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said, “Parents should always seek permission from the head teacher to take their children out of school in the term time. This applied before September 2013 as well as after, although the new government regulations which came in meant head teachers could no longer grant holidays during term time in ‘special circumstances’, only ‘exceptional circumstances’ which are classes as unavoidable causes such as illness or exclusions. As a result, we have seen more referrals from schools which resulted in fines. We adopted a zero tolerance policy so that there was consistency across the authority and ensured that all of our head teachers, schools and governing bodies supported this approach.”

This new government regulation which means that parents and guardians will be fined if they take their children out of school during term-time has caused controversy across the country. Whilst some people think that it’s the best way to ensure each child receives the right amount of education, others think that parents should be the ones who decide what is best for their child, especially when holidays with their children consist of valuable together-time which may not happen much in-between work, school and after-school clubs at home. Many parents are deciding to take their children out of school and facing the fine anyway, as the fine they receive is a lot less in comparison to the discounted off-peak price they pay for their holiday.

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