LANCASHIRE County Council has denied reports it is considering imposing £1,000 fines on parents who take their children out of school without permission from the headteacher.

Stories over the weekend followed a headteacher in Rossendale suggesting in her weekly newsletter that the authority was considering a nine-fold increase in the current fixed penalty notice of £120 per parent per child.

Sara Richardson told parents of pupils at Rawtenstall's Balladen Community Primary School: "Lancashire County Council are currently trialling a new system for dealing with unauthorised holidays and breaks during term time. This involves an increase in the financial penalty to parents of up to £1000 per parent per child rather than the current fixed penalty notice of £120 per parent per child.

"This system is still at the pilot stage but please be aware this may come in to effect at some stage. "

The county council spokeswoman said: "There is no initiative running regarding increasing the amount of money people would be fined because of an unauthorised absence from school.

"The penalty notice fine amounts for unauthorised absence from school are set by the government.

"The decision to authorise absence or not rests with the headteacher of the particular school, and not with the county council. Penalty notices of £120 for each child, which reduces to £60 if paid within 21 days, are an enforcement option that are available to local authorities, if requested by schools.

"This continues to be the policy.

"No figure of £1,000 has been discussed by the authority, or even suggested."

The county council spokeswoman said: "At the request of headteachers, informal discussions are currently ongoing with schools to look at ways to manage absence, in particular excessive time taken off school for holidays. Our policy regarding absence from school has not changed and there are no plans for this to happen."

Miss Richardson was not immediately available for comment.

Lancashire County Council is responsible for state schools in Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle, and Rossendale. In 2017/18 7,575 fines were issued for unauthorised absence in its area

Blackburn with Darwen Council is a separate Local Education Authority.

Cllr Susie Charles, county cabinet member for schools, said: "We will continue to encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences and our aim throughout is not to punish parents, but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education.

"We firmly believe that children and young people's success is linked to attendance and if children miss out on school, they miss out on learning."