Parents of autistic girl are fined after taking her on a charity-funded holiday
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The parents of an eight-year-old girl with autism spectrum disorders have been fined for taking her on a charity-funded holiday.
Stuart Parker, 58, and his partner Amanda Herdsman, from Bungay, was awarded a £500 grant from the Family Fund charity to take step-daughter Ruby Rose, and their two other children on a five-day respite break to Butlins in Skegness.
After informing the children’s three schools about the break, Bungay High School and Beccles Free School authorised the holiday for sons Jordan, 15, and Harvey, 13.
However, the family returned last week to find a letter from Bungay Primary School to say it had not authorised the trip and the parents were issued with a fine of £120.
Mr Parker said: “We wrote a letter to the school and didn’t hear anything back so presumed it was fine, particularly since the school authorised the trip when we were awarded the grant last year.
You may also want to watch:
“I spoke to the staff and there seemed to be some confusion about who had seen our original letter and who made the decision not to authorise it.”
The school said in a statement: “When a family’s request for a holiday is based upon affordability the school does not deem this to be an exceptional circumstance and a Fixed Penalty Notice is appropriate.”
- 1 School warning after social media post about girls being approached
- 2 Diversions in place with stretch of A12 to be closed overnight
- 3 Market town assault left victim 'quivering and shaking on the floor'
- 4 Joy as pub prepares to reopen for first time since September
- 5 Assurances over £3m Station Yard project in Southwold
- 6 Woman's virtual head shave in memory of loved ones lost to cancer
- 7 Norfolk lorry drivers clocked for nearly 200 traffic offences in three days
- 8 Former prisoner of war nurse celebrated for her service
- 9 Pakefield Man set for summer showcase
- 10 Search continues for Beccles man missing for five days
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Schools and authorities take the issue of children failing to attend school regularly very seriously and the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued by schools demonstrates that there is greater challenge by schools to parents and carers who fail to send their children to school.
“There are, of course, circumstances where children cannot attend school, due to sickness, but in term time it is the responsibility of parents and carers to ensure their children go to school. However, every headteacher has to make a decision based on the merits of each case to authorise a Fixed Penalty Notice referral in line with the policy for attendance that has been set by the school’s governors.”
The Beccles and Bungay Journal reported last week how the parents of Bungay High School pupil Ben Rourke were fined after the 15-year-old arranged his own trip to Barcelona to coincide with the school’s three-day activity week.
Ben, who hopes to become an airline pilot, saw the trip as a chance to brush up on his language and geography skills.
The Family Fund charity provides grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people, including grants for sensory toys, computers and family breaks together.
•What do you think? Email email@example.com