July 24 2014 Latest news:
Anna Silverman, Reporter
Friday, April 4, 2014
The head teacher of a Forest Gate school has accused a ski company of “paying people to break the rules”.
Simon Elliot, 46, of Forest Gate Community School has spoken out against Mountainbase ski holiday company after they offered to pay fines for parents who take their children away during term time.
The Bedford-based operator, which sells holidays in Morzine in the French Alps, advertised the offer on Facebook despite it being against the law.
“This seems like an ill-thought out idea to me,” Simon said.
“This company is effectively paying people to break the rules at the expense of their
“The main beneficiary of this inducement is the ski company and the children lose because they are missing out on crucial lessons which they may never be able to catch up on,” he said.
Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if a child is missing school without a good reason.
They can be given a penalty notice of £60, rising to £120 if it isn’t paid within 28 days.
If prosecuted, parents could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months.
Simon explained that in areas like Forest Gate, where parents may not be able to afford private tuition to help a child catch up, missing work can be “very damaging”.
He added: “I understand that families are under financial pressure and that holidays are much cheaper out of term time as it is a problem that I face myself.
“Nevertheless, I think most parents would be rightly appalled if I or any of my staff decided to take them up on this ludicrous offer.”