World

UK parents in trouble with law for taking kids to visit sick grandad during school term

A UK couple took their two young sons to visit their sick grandfather in India last December.

The only problem with that? The trip took place during the school term, and the children did not get permission from the school to miss classes.

Mr Shahnawaz Patel and his wife Sofiya were later issued penalty notices and fined £480 (S$1,000) for their transgression.

Having failed to pay up on time, they are now being prosecuted.

Request denied

The couple had asked for their sons Omar, 11, and Eiad, eight, to be excused from school to visit their grandfather, who was undergoing an operation in India.

But English Martyrs Catholic primary school in Lancashire denied their request.

The boys had not seen their grandfather in five years, and did not attend their grandmother's funeral three years earlier, reported The Guardian.

Mr Patel, a paralegal, told the UK daily: "We did not want our children to miss out on potentially their only opportunity to see their grandfather in person so we decided to take them with us.

He added: "This was the first ever request made to the school and my children have never had any unauthorised absences.

"I even asked the school for work to be taken during our visit, this too was declined and the reason cited by the head-teacher was that she did not condone the absence."

'Exceptional' circumstances

The Patels later offered to pay the fine, but were turned down as the deadline had passed, reported The Telegraph.

They will have to be in court on Wednesday (July 8) or submit a guilty plea​.

In the UK, parents are not allowed to take their children out of school during the term unless they are given express permission by the head-teacher.

The circumstances have to be "exceptional" for a parent's request to be granted, The Guardian reported.

Lancashire county councillor Matthew Tomlinson said the aim of the rule was "not to punish parents, but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education".

Sources: The Guardian, The Telegraph

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