Parents’ fury after being fined £120 for taking son to Crete to be a ring-bearer at gran’s wedding days before the end of term
The family must pay the fine by November 24 or see it double in price
A Mum and dad have been fined £120 for taking their son out of school for the last two weeks of the year to attend his grandmother’s wedding in Crete.
Vicky Armitage was shocked to be told the family occasion, at which eight-year-old Toby was ring bearer, was not considered an “exceptional circumstance”.
The furious mum, 37, said: “I am so angry that the head teacher of the school and then the council has not seen this as an exceptional circumstance.
“My family consider a wedding very important.
“My Mother lives in Crete, I get to see her once maybe twice a year, if she can come to us. This was a very big deal for us.
“We could only afford one holiday, we couldn’t have gone for the wedding and then home as that would have been the budget for our annual holiday.”
The wedding had been planned for July so guests wouldn’t have to travel in peak season and to allow bride, Tricia, to marry before she turned 60.
Vicky said she had presumed she could appeal the decision of Milton St John’s Primary School, when it was referred to Tameside Council – but she was never given the chance.
The family, of Mossley, Greater Manchester, received letters informing them of the fines issued for the two week break on Friday, three months after their return on July 28.
Vicky is particularly annoyed about the bills because the trip was so close to the end of the school’s academic year.
She added: “I asked his teacher to give me work to complete whilst he was away, her response was ‘we are really just going over the things that we have already learned and wrapping things up for the year’.
“She then gave me a handwriting book, some worksheets and some numeracy work to do. We completed all of them in the two weeks whilst were away.”
The family must pay the fine before November 24 when it will double to £240.
A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “We believe that any absence from school, for whatever reason, is detrimental to a child’s long term life opportunities, so should be avoided if at all possible.
“Reducing absence from school is a key priority, both nationally and locally, because missing school damages a pupil’s attainment levels and disrupts school routines.
“For these reasons, we have adopted the powers given under Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to be used as a sanction when parents do not fulfil their responsibility to ensure their children attend school regularly.
“Leave of absence may be given by a school where there are “exceptional circumstances. However the decision about what constitutes exceptional circumstances is made by the school.”
Miss L Gallagher, headteacher of Milton St John’s school said: “The school is not permitted to comment on individual cases.
“Milton St John’s is a local authority school and we have followed all local authority legal procedures.”
Earlier this year Jon Platt lost the £200,000 two-year legal saga that followed his decision to remove his daughter from school for a family holiday.
Jon, 46, refused to pay a £120 fine after he took his daughter, aged seven, out of school and jetted off on a seven-day family holiday to Florida in 2015.