A mum who took her child out of school for a last holiday with his seriously ill grandmother has successfully quashed a £60 fine.
Stacia Lee says the seaside break with 20 family members should have been granted as compassionate leave for nine-year-old Tristan.
“As a family we’d had a terrible year. We’d gone through two bereavements. Tristan’s nan was very ill with cancer and, on top of all that, my relationship with my partner, Tristan’s dad, had broken up.
“If anybody deserved a holiday and a chance to heal and be together with his family, it was my son.”
Stacia said the week with uncles, aunts and cousins near Burnham-on-Sea did wonders for the family – and even prompted her and partner Zane Kanakas to get back together.
But last week there was a nasty repercussion – in the form of a fine from MK Council for allowing Tristan’s unauthorised absence from Bletchley’s Rickley Park School.
“It was just unfair. It was the last week of the summer term, when the children don’t do much work anyway. And there have never been any other issues with Tristan’s attendance or learning.”
She complained to new head Allison Collis about the fixed penalty notice. Ms Collis, who started six weeks ago, agreed to arrange for the council’s education department to rescind it on compassionate grounds.
But the head also put out a no-nonsense statement on the school’s website this week stating that nothing would induce her to authorise a holiday in term time.
The statement read: “There are no circumstances that would authorise a holiday in term time – none. It is a very clear statement that is written in our attendance policy.
“Exceptional circumstances for absence may be granted – but never holidays.”
The head added: “Every leave of absence request is looked at individually and in this case, a few extra days were then granted for compassionate leave.
“However, I still stand by and will implement our attendance policy that clearly states no holidays will be authorised in term time.”