Mum fined after son missed ‘half a day’ of school for family holiday
A mum facing a fine of up to £240 for taking her son out of his primary school for a family holiday claims he only missed half a day of lessons.
Sabrina Thompson claims she informed staff that her son Kai, aged eight, would miss the morning session Zetland Primary in Redcar, North Yorkshire.
The family were returning from a holiday at the Flamingo Land theme park.
Kai also missed the afternoon session on the first day of term on September 4 to attend a hospital appointment to have splints fitted to his legs, his mum told Teesside Live.
Now both mum Sabrina and her husband Jonathon, who are both disabled, have received fines for taking Kai on holiday in term time.
Sabrina, a former Redcar and Cleveland councillor and school governor, said the hospital appointment was after school finished at 4pm.
But, she said, extra time was needed to get Kai, who has special educational needs, to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough due to her and her husband’s disabilities.
She feels for this reason, the family shouldn’t be penalised for missing a full day.
However, the school said it does everything it can to support parents and pupils to attend school – and said a fine wouldn’t have been issued had Kai gone into school on the afternoon to receive his mark before leaving for hospital.
It said its policy of authorising no holidays during September has to be applied consistently.
Mum-of-four Sabrina, 37, claimed: "My husband and I have both been fined – we just cannot afford £240.
"We had been to Flamingo Land just before Kai was due back at school, because that’s when it’s classed as low season, the only holiday we could afford.
"I’d been honest and informed the school he would be missing the morning session to travel home – but I don’t accept the afternoon session was a holiday. If I’d lied and said he was ill, we wouldn’t have received this fine.
"I’m angry, upset and disappointed, and I feel since the school became an academy the rules are just about ticking boxes.
"It’s ludicrous to be punished for half a day."
However, Zetland School headteacher Simon English said: "We apply the school attendance policy accurately and submitted the information to the local authority.
"The local authority issued the penalty notice as it met the local authority criteria for the issue of a penalty.
"It is of paramount importance the school works with parents in a supportive manner, and we need to apply policy accurately."
A Redcar and Cleveland Council spokesman said: "Where a headteacher has taken the decision not to authorise an absence they may make a referral to the council’s attendance and welfare service to issue a penalty notice.
"The information contained within the referral is assessed against the school’s policy. If it appears from this information that the policy has been properly applied then the council will issue the Penalty Notice.
"We are unable to release personal information related to individual referrals but, in this case, the information provided supported the school’s request for a penalty notice to be issued."
It was revealed in March that there’d been a sharp spike in the number of fines handed to parents on Teesside, after a dad lost a Supreme Court battle against term-time holiday penalties.
Isle of Wight dad Jon Platt gained national headlines when he aimed to strike a blow for parents everywhere by challenging a £120 fine for taking his six-year-old daughter to Disney World for a week.
He had initially won a High Court battle which prompted Middlesbrough and Stockton councils to suspend punishing parents for taking their children away during the school holidays.
But after the Supreme Court ruled against him in April last year, local authorities on Teesside began to hand out fines once more.
Top news stories from Mirror Online
Source: Read Full Article