Ski firm backs "taking the piste" payment of parents' school fines

The ski firm owner offering to pay council fines for parents who take their children on term-time holidays has defended it as a "good viral campaign".

Off on holiday: MountainBase offered to pay the parents' fines
Off on holiday: MountainBase offered to pay the parents' fines

Lee Quince, the owner of MountainBase, posted the offer on Facebook two weeks ago to encourage discussion on the growing number of parents being fined by their councils and schools for taking their children on holiday during term time. 

The offer stated: "Are schools in the UK taking the piste? We think so. Especially with record snow in levels across Morzine" before adding: "Book a week with children and we will, if you receive a fine from your school/local authority, pay the fine on copy of a receipt from yourselves."

During the last few days the campaign has whipped up media attention, culminating in a piece on the front page of The Times and a warning from a Department for Education spokesman that such action could lead to criminal prosecution. 

Defending the right of parents to make decisions about their children’s welfare, Quince said the coverage had been followed by a "rise in enquiry rates".

"Initially the focus was on creating an advertisement which would create attention," he added, "but it has attracted far more focus than I imagined. The last few days have been very busy. This has been a good viral campaign."

A study by BBC One’s Breakfast programme discovered that 34 councils in England had imposed 5,300 fines in the autumn term of 2013.

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