A mother has slammed a school after she was fined for taking her daughter on holiday during term time – to fulfil the girl’s grandmother’s dying wish.
Charlene White, 28, left her job as a carer after her mother Sharon was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer in October last year.
The family was told to enjoy the limited time they had left together, but more than a year later Sharon is battling on.
But single mum Charlene, from Yeovil, Somerset, is appalled after she was fined £60 for taking seven-year-old Kia out of class for a week-long holiday to Devon in September.
She said: “I just wanted to ensure what time she has left is enjoyable.
“The doctor said do what she wants to do now because she won’t have the chance to again.
“She’s gone downhill since all this started because she is obviously worried. It’s unnecessary stress for her.”
“All she wanted to do is spend time with her grandchild but is worried she’s got us in trouble.
“She wants them to have fun so they remember her in a good light, not just with this terrible illness.
“I’m going to pay the fine because of the worry it’s causing my mum and seek some retrospective legal action.
“She’s worried that her nana is in trouble and it’s her fault. She’s seen how much worse it’s made her and she’s quite angry.”
Charlene said she felt she had ‘no option’ but to take little Kia out of school so they could all go on what would likely be Sharon’s last holiday in Sandy Bay in Devon.
She said she heard nothing from Birchfield Primary School until a letter arrived in October issuing Charlene with a £60 fine, which doubles if not paid promptly.
Headteacher Richard Culham suggested Kia has already had other unauthorised absences – which her mum disputes.
She missed school for a week in July 2013 due to a chest infection, according to Charlene.
Mr Culham said: “We are an understanding school and will always work with parents to allow children time away from school during term time if there is an exceptional circumstance.
“By definition, this would generally be a one off situation.
“If a parent has already taken unauthorised term time holidays on multiple occasions quoting the same reason, I must take action to ensure children are not unnecessarily missing out on their education.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of regular school attendance. Any absence from school can have a major impact on a child’s development, their educational achievements and can affect success in later life and their longer-term health and well-being.”