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Darwen mum’s £300 fine as children miss one school day
A MUM has hit out after being told to pay £300 for taking two of her children out of school for one day to visit their sick grandfather.
Angie Lee, 49, of Beaumont Way, Darwen, has this week been told that on top of a £50 fine per child, both she and her husband must each pay a £100 ‘parent fine’.
Angie organised the family trip to China for the Easter holiday, but could not get flights home in time for the start of the new term.
Both Siobhan, nine, and Kelvin, 11, missed one day at St Paul’s Primary in Hoddlesden, which has been classed as ‘unauthorised’ by the headteacher.
Mrs Lee, owner of Lee’s Cantonese Kitchen in Sudell Road, said: “My father-in-law is in his 80s and was very poorly in hospital with a broken leg.
“Because of the flights, we couldn’t get them home in time to start the term, and I didn’t object to paying the £50 fine each for them.
“I paid up in good time and thought that was finished with, but then I got a final reminder from the council, telling me that I had to pay up another £200 fine for both me and my husband Paul.
“I hadn’t been told about this, and think it’s ridiculous – I’m being fined twice for the same thing. It wasn’t my children paying the £50 fine each themselves, it was me and my husband.
“To me this is just a money-making exercise and it discriminates against two parent families, because if you’re on your own, you only have to pay one parent fine.”
Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for children’s services, said: “Under the law all decisions on authorising pupil absences are a matter for the head teacher’s discretion and it was advised in this instance that due to exam preparation and revision and amount of time taken the absences would be marked as unauthorised.
“Acting on the written instruction of the head teacher on May 15, we issued the parents with Education Penalty Notices in respect of their two children’s unauthorised absences from St Paul’s CE Primary School, Hoddlesden.
“The appropriate regulations, through central government, require that where there is more than one parent, separate penalty notice for each individual child are issued and each parents must pay – so in this case, it totals four notices.”