A HAMPSHIRE mum has been left fuming after being threatened with a £60 fine for taking her daughter out of school for a few hours to attend a family wedding.
Sara Ritchie approached Hatch Warren Infant School, where her six-year-old daughter Grace is a pupil, to request to pick her up early on Wednesday, May 18 so she can attend the wedding of her step-aunt.
But she was shocked when she was told that the school would fine her £60 if Grace leaves at lunchtime on that day.
The mother-of-three, from Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, said: “The deputy headteacher said if a child takes time off in May the parents will be immediately fined because of the SATs. My daughter’s attendance is amazing. She has only had two days off and one of those was because they were told to stay at home 24 hours after a sick bug.”
A letter sent home to parents said: “Year 2 children will be undertaking their SATs during May 2016 so no leave will be granted during this period. Any leave taken during these periods will generate a fixed penalty notice.”
Miss Ritchie argued that her daughter will not be sitting exams for the entire month of May, and asked the school when the actual tests are being taken, but said the school refused to give her this information.
She added: “I think it’s so awful to put a six-year-old through that anyway. It’s to show the teachers are up to standard, not the pupils. But if they told us her test is in the afternoon we will keep her in school. I asked for specific times and dates and we will work around it. We have tried our hardest but the school point blank refused.”
The mother said she will take the school to court if it goes ahead with the fine, adding: “I’m really annoyed. I never take my kids out of school. People take their kids out of school for holidays and birthdays. But this is one time for a wedding.”
Sue Hurdle, deputy headteacher at Hatch Warren Infant School, said: “I am unable to comment on individual cases. However I can confirm that parents of all children were advised by letter in September 2015 and additionally through the parents’ newsletter in March, that no leave of absence will be approved for Year 2 children undertaking their SATs tests during May 2016.”