A woman has been ordered to pay £480 by magistrates for taking her children out of school for a holiday without permission.

The woman, who cannot be named, took her two primary aged children out of school for a week in October for a family holiday, Skipton Court heard on Friday.

She had asked the school – which is in the South Craven area – for permission, but was refused.

Prosecuting for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), Alan Tunningley said a family holiday was not considered to be an exceptional reason for absence.

The mother was issued with a penalty notice and fined £120 for each child, with a reduction to £60 for early payment. She had not paid the penalty, so the matter had gone to court, said Mr Tunningley.

The case against the woman was proved in her absence. Magistrates, without any knowledge of the woman’s means, said they had no option but to judge her fine on average earnings. She was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £30.

An NYCC spokesman said all parents and carers of children at school had been notified by letter last summer of new legislation relating to term leave.

“The letter informed parents and carers the new law gives no entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time,” said the spokesman.

“The granting of term-time leave is at the discretion of the headteacher, and each application is considered individually by the school, taking into account any factors presented by the family.

“Schools understand why some parents may want to take their children on holiday during term-time when packages are often cheaper and because of work commitments, but continuity of a child’s education is regarded as paramount.”