CUMBRIAN headteachers are taking a softly-softly approach to blocking holidays for parents taking children out of school in term time.

The county is one of only two authorities which has not yet issued any fines for unuathorised absences from the classroom.

During an investigation into the issue, it was found 34 councils across England had handed out 5,300 fines to parents in autumn alone.

New guidance came in last year telling headteachers to turn down absence requests for family holidays in school time.

The Department of Education (DoE) advised local education authorities that absences should only be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’ like bereavements or illness – to help cut down on absences.

Fines – which would be paid to Cumbria County Council – start at £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if settled within 28 days.

But a county council spokesman said: “I can confirm no fixed penalty notices have been issued to parents in Cumbria for taking their children on holiday during term time.

“In relation to holidays in term time, fixed penalty notices are not an automatic sanction and whether to grant permission for the holiday is at the headteacher’s discretion. Headteacher’s look at a pupil’s attendance pattern when determining whether to grant permission and will usually only go down the route of fining parents if the holiday is refused then taken anyway by a pupil who has a pattern of poor attendance.”