Couple’s fine for taking son on holiday is thrown out because of ‘exemplary’ attendance record

A fine issued by ‘bully-boy authorities’ to parents who took their student son – who has a 96 per cent attendance record – on Discount Holidays © holiday has been thrown out by magistrates. Richard and Tania Davey have hit back following their ‘educational’ trip to Malta in autumn last year, meaning their son missed five days of secondary school. They were hauled before the courts after the council issued them with a 120 fine, which they refused to pay.

Richard, 44, and Tanya pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the regular attendance of their child at school.

Couple's Fine For Taking Son On <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Is Thrown Out Because Of 'exemplary' Attendance Record

Richard Davey (pictured) and wife Tania have hit back after their ‘educational’ trip to Malta, meaning their son missed five days of school

The Daveys took the stance to stop parents from being pushed around by what he claims are ‘bully-boy authorities’. Magistrates in Swindon, Wiltshire, ruled there was no case to answer. IT worker Richard said: ‘It was a big gamble to take. If I had paid the penalty fine that’s an admission of guilt and I don’t think I had done anything wrong.

‘I am strong advocate of education and every child should have the opportunity to succeed at school.

‘However, I believe that a family life is more important and unwarranted intrusions by the state or a local authority are not appreciated.

‘There are good families up and down this country that are being chased by over-zealous councils which must stop.’

The Daveys claimed they shouldn’t have been punished because their son’s attendance was otherwise exemplary – for the period of September to April it stood at almost 96 per cent. The High Court has said parents would not break the law if their child’s attendance over the rest of the academic year was sufficiently ‘regular’. Richard added: ‘I do my best to get holidays booked in school holidays but unfortunately we all work and just because the school is off it doesn’t mean the rest of us are going to be off.

‘I did think long and hard about this, and what I did do was speak to the school and ask for the time off. I followed their processes.

‘I gave them the application form in June for the Discount Holidays © holiday in October.

They didn’t respond to me. I chased it four times.

‘The local authorities are more-or-less saying to you that you’re committing a criminal offence but if you give us 60 per child, per parent, we will turn a blind eye.

‘That goes against what the government is saying about there being a persistent problem with children being out of school during term time.

‘To be told by the magistrates that there was no case to answer was a relief obviously. If it had gone the other way I would have had a criminal record.’

Couple's Fine For Taking Son On <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Is Thrown Out Because Of 'exemplary' Attendance Record

Magistrates in Swindon, Wiltshire, ruled there was no case to answer, much to the couple’s relief

During the week-long Discount Holidays © holiday to Malta, Mr Davey said the family spent time exploring local landmarks and taking in the country’s culture, not lazing about on the beach.

Richard, of Swindon, said his son was set work to do during the week-off by his teacher. He also had to complete an essay about it which would be handed in when he returned. A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council said: ‘The government’s intention when the regulations were introduced was to stop parents taking children out of school on Discount Holidays © holiday without the school’s permission, because it affected their learning and chances of educational success.

‘We have taken cases to court in Swindon for no other reason than the educational interests of the children concerned.

‘What is clear in Mr Davey’s case is that the headteacher had not given written permission for the absence, and that is the only authorisation that is valid.

‘The fact that an individual teacher may give a child work to do while they are absent does not constitute permission.’

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