Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Holiday discount vouchers cut truancy rates

A campaign to clampdown on unauthorised absence from schools in North Tyneside has seen parents benefit from holiday discounts worth nearly £4,000. The HINTS (Holiday Inititiative in North Tyneside) scheme was launched by North Tyneside Council at the beginning of the year. It offers the parent/ carer of every child in the borough a voucher for a ten percent reduction on a holiday taken during the school holiday period booked through a local travel agent.Parents who continue to allow their children to play truant also face legal action and penalty fines of up to £100. The Council said the combined effect of the holiday discount scheme and the threat of prosecution has resulted in a reduction in unauthorised absences across the borough. There have been 6 permanent exclusions in the borough this year - an 89 percent reduction over the past five years.Councillor Norma Redfearn, Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Learning said: “Children cannot learn if they are not in the classroom and we need the support of parents to achieve that. “Our fast-track penalty approach is ensuring we intervene in problems at an earlier stage and work with families to find a solution that keeps children in learning. However, prosecution is still available as a last resort. “The holiday voucher scheme is reinforcing our stance by reminding parents that children should not be taken out of schools for holidays during term time, by providing the voucher incentive. “This is a great start to this campaign but we are not complacent and will continue to reinforce the need for children to be in school.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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