Figures obtained by Schools Week from 114 councils in England through Freedom of Information requests show that in the last academic year schools in Lancashire gave out the most fines for unauthorised leave.
A total of 6,876 fines were issued to parents in the county. At the other of the scale, there were four areas in the country where no penalty notices were issued.
Susie Charles, Lancashire’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “As Lancashire has more schools than any other local authority, we are always likely to issue the most fines. The decision to authorise absence or not rests with the head teacher of the particular school, and we encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences.
“Our aim throughout is not to punish parents but to ensure that children attend school and receive a good education.”
Unauthorised absence fines came under the spotlight again last year due to the case of Jon Platt, who lost a landmark legal battle at the UK’s highest court over taking his daughter to Disney World during school time.
The case was taken to the Supreme Court by education chiefs after High Court judges, in May 2016, backed a decision by local magistrates that Mr Platt had no case to answer over the unauthorised seven-day family trip in April 2015.
The case was referred back to Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court, where Mr Platt was convicted of failing to secure his daughter’s regular attendance at school.
Parents can be fined £60 if their child misses school without permission, rising to £120 if the penalty is not paid within 21 days.