Massive increase in number of Isle of Wight school absence fines, says campaigner

The data for 2017/18 Truancy Penalty Notices (98% of them term time holidays) has been analysed by Jon Platt. He says they’re so high that’s it an average of one penalty notice for every seven school children – a huge increase on previous years.

Jon Platt

The results of an FOI request made by Jon Platt from Parents Union, show that the Isle of Wight council have smashed the record nationally for imposing the most fines on parents whose children are absent from school on ‘unauthorised’ term time holidays.

Jon explains below what he discovered. Ed

In 2014/15, the year I was prosecuted, the Isle of Wight Council set an unbelievable record. They issued Truancy Penalty Notices at a rate never before seen anywhere in the Country.

It was ten times the national rate. They issued 1,805 penalty notices for an authority that only has a little over 14,000 pupils.

That’s 128 Penalty Notices per thousand pupils, compared to the national average over the last five years of 12 per thousand pupils. 98% related to ‘term time holidays’ where, in almost all cases, the children had otherwise excellent attendance.

That staggering record has just been broken.

1 penalty notice for every 7 children
In response to an FOI request I have just been given the 2017/18 figure. It is up a staggering 74% on last year and up 12.5% on their previous record.

2,030 parents were issued with fines, amounting to 143 penalty notices per 1,000 pupils.

In a single year one penalty notice was issued for every seven children in school on the Island.

Click on image to see larger version
IWC penalty notices for school absence

That is 12 times the national average.

IWC Dept cost £246,000
It generated income to the Council of £112,000. The department who issues these fines cost £246,000 to run (not including legal fees or other associated costs).

The IW Council tax payer made a ‘loss’ of £150,000 on this lunacy.

Could reach 275,000 penalties
In a post last month I predicted that when the national data is released in March 2019, the number of penalty notices will have risen substantially in 2017/18. I predicted that the number will reach 235,000.

Based on the Isle of Wight figures, we may even see the 2017/18 figure hit 275,000. If that happens then the numbers will have risen more than 500% in five years!

Poor attainment and rise in mental health issues
Remember the background to this. This is a local authority with some of the worst educational outcomes in the country. A local authority that has more children admitted to hospital suffering with a mental health crisis than any other authority in the country.

If you think this is a completely bonkers waste of tax payers money, leading to highly undesirable outcomes for families and children, share this post.

Image: © With permission of Solent News Agency

Friday, 2nd November, 2018 12:55pm



Filed under: Education, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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8 Comments on "Massive increase in number of Isle of Wight school absence fines, says campaigner"

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Oh Please! Do not give this man any more media space. Mr Platt could afford to take his child/ren to Disneyland so could have afforded to pay the £60 without me and the rest of the island ratepayers in his principles. All the “free advertising” that Mr Platt received throughout his campaign has meant he can now afford to send his children to the private school at… Read more »

I agree, nobody needs to hear any more from a man willing to damage his children’s education by taking them out of school.

So what is going on here??? You can’t say it’s more money making scams from the council…as it’s clearly making a loss.I guess the drop in 2015 was due to the council waiting for the legal case outcome and didn’t want to run the risk of having to pay back shed loads of fines. At the end of the day, it’s the headmaster that gives permission. Are… Read more »

Headteachers maybe ? not all are male….

John makes a persuasive and coherent argument. Given the mostly dismal quality of teaching in IoW schools is it no wonder that some parents are keen to help further their children’s education by taking them out of the claustrophobic classroom and into the real world of learning? At the age of fourteen my parents took me out for a fortnight during term time to accompany them on… Read more »
Crystal Mighty
Some interesting figures are headlined here. They should be no surprise to anybody at all. (1) 98% related to ‘term time holidays’ Indeed. Since these constitute practically all the cases where parents are actively encouraging their own childrens’ truancy from school. This truancy not only has the potential to disrupt their own childrens’ education, but to disrupt that of all their fellow pupils, as scarce resources are… Read more »
Schools run by the council are funded with our taxes, I expect education to be taken seriously and for parents to do that same. It is all to get children ready for the real world and one of those things is booking time off for holiday. No just going missing because we found a cheap flight abroad. If I did that I would be sacked what example… Read more »
Mark L Francis

Is the IOW doing well in education league tables?
Does it have a high truancy rate and how are these related.
I think we all know the answers. So what should the IWCC do about it?