Parent taking their children out of school without good reason will face fine, the government announced last week.

Currently, disciplinary action is in the hands of local authorities, but a plans for a one-size-fits-all system have been announced.

Parents of children who have five days of unauthorised absence or lateness within one term, take holidays during term-time, or are out in public during the first five days of an exclusion, will face a fixed penalty notice of up to £120 under the new plans.

There will be a fine limit of two per school year per child, and if that limit is exceeded parents may face prosecution.

The plans would also tighten up rules on pupil absence in the case of illness.

Kevin McKeon, shadow cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “It’s already possible for parents to receive fines.

"I'm personally think it should be the school’s responsibility.

“Headteachers and staff at schools know their students and their parents the best. There are plenty of reasons that a child is absent from school and fining parents is not always appropriate.

The Bolton News: Cllr Kevin McKeonCllr Kevin McKeon

“It should be up to the discretion of the school.”

Currently the plans are in the consultation stage, and therefore Bolton Council cabinet member for Children’s Services Cllr Anne Galloway said she would not be commenting on the matter.

She did confirm, however, that Bolton’s parents are already subject to fines for the unauthorised absences of their children, “except during the Covid pandemic cand its aftermath”.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “I know from the Children’s Commissioner’s work on school attendance that children themselves hugely value being in school with their teachers and their friends.

‘My job is to make sure that every child can get those school experiences. The plans set out today to reform how absence fines operate, alongside our Schools Bill currently going through parliament, will improve consistency across the country and help tackle persistent absence.’

Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, has called for attendance to rise to 100% by the 2022 autumn term in September, and has urged academy trusts to do ‘whatever it takes’ to achieve this.