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School Abscence Fine

(23 Posts)
feelinghthelove Sun 17-Mar-19 20:04:47

Can anyone help and advise me with this?
I’m looking at being fined for my child’s abscence from school.
Earlier this year my newborn was admitted to hospital for surgery, it took a while for us to be allocated a bed and whilst we were still on the emergency surgery list that took a couple of days. The week we were in hospital my partner was running my 15 yr old to school and dropping him at the gate. From the gate he absconded. He’s a bit of a worrier and I feel a bit like he has some kind of separation anxiety too however that’s another issue. So all in all he missed 5 days (10 registration marks). During the week I was pretty helpless, I was 40 miles from home with a newborn awaiting surgery so I asked his dad to step in, he refused and said he wouldn’t help me if I was on fire.

I received a 15 day warning notice and I spoke to school and apologised and asked could the unauthorised abscence please come under exceptional circumstances but they refused.
So I then had to ensure my child was in school between certain dates which I did.
On one of the days he’d forgotten to take in his school shoes (he wears trainers to and from and changes when there) so he was in trouble. He then rang his dad who rang school and said instead of him being in isolation all day he was to go home!! To say I was furious is an understatement. There was no need for him to go home, he was being punished and so should have remained in isolation. Anyway, school called to advise me it was again being marked down as an unauthorised abscence!

I was wondering if anyone has refused to pay the fine and allowed it to go to court?
I just feel like this isn’t my doing, his dad refused to help and then added to the mess! I understand that he will be fined too but I feel it’s unfair.

Ooplesandbanoonoos Sun 17-Mar-19 20:07:11

Is there an appeals process?
Could your health visitor write a letter of support?

cauliflowersqueeze Sun 17-Mar-19 20:07:49

It won’t go to court for 6 days’ unauthorised absence.
His dad sounds like a complete arse.

Jon65 Sun 17-Mar-19 20:12:00

It's misogyny by another name. Why is it always the women they pick on? Why not the men who continually fail to step up? I'm not sure what you could have done. Left hospital with a newborn to drop him at school and i think that is absolutely the point. I cannot see any judge in these circumstances issuing a fine.

feelinghthelove Sun 17-Mar-19 21:09:53

To be fair we are both going to get a fine.
Like you say, what could I do? He was dropped at the gate and my partner made his way straight to the hospital. None of us could be expected to sit outside to ensure he didn’t abscond. There is no appeal process. It’s pay up or go to court. And yes 6 days = 12 unauthorised abscence so a fine will be issued.

cdtaylornats Sun 17-Mar-19 22:27:26

After he absconded did the school phone to say he was missing?

You might suggest you wont complain about the safeguarding issue if they don't pursue the fine.

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 02:16:32

No, I just received a truant text along with a barrage of abuse from dad to tell me I was useless! I did ring school to let them know he’d been dropped off though and again advised them of my situation.

LikeDolphinsCanSwim Mon 18-Mar-19 02:29:12

What happened about getting him into school before the baby was born? Do you normally walk him right into school?

If not, it's going to be hard to argue that your situation actually changed anything.

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 07:05:48

I drive him, it’s 10 miles away. He goes without any trouble however like I said he’s a worrier, that week he’d have been worried about his sibling and I.

youarenotkiddingme Mon 18-Mar-19 07:23:30

I would start with a measured email to school.

Something simple and bullet points and factual.

So sept - x date he had x% attendance.
On x date this happened (baby born).
On x dates this happened (consult re surgery)
On x date to x date DP dropped him at school @ x time.
At x time you received messages he wasn't in attendance.
You spoke to school on x dates.
His father refused to support on x date.
On x date he forgot his school shoes and was placed in isolation.
His father was rung at x time and said he's to go home.
Fine received on x date.

Then point out unusual for truancy. Related to his MH due to worry about baby. You didn't fail to get him to school - you were in a situation where you couldn't get to him and his other parent chose not to step up.

The fine has been activated by NRP making decisions.
Then simply ask the school why they hold you accountable for original absences and place blame on you - but then allow other parent to make decisions.

Whether you fight this or not is up to you. He's 15 so will leave school soon so you don't need to 'bank' the absences and fine for a family holiday wink but also remember that if you lose it'll be costly.

What I would want though is the school to be clear about who they will contact from now on for consistency.

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 07:48:10

That sounds like a plan. I think I’ll do that. The reason I originally asked was because of the cost should court side with school. Something being on maternity leave I simply cannot afford.
I asked school about who they’re contacting moving forward, the said dad was very abusive re the isolation thing and they “couldn’t hold pupils prisoners” so allowed him to leave however did advise dad it would be unauthorised. They did however say they would back me up regarding the abuse they received from him so there is that.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Mar-19 08:54:26

Why is it always the women they pick on

Most LAs seem to fine both parents even if the child lives with one parent. They do not pick on the women.

There is no appeals process. If the penalty notice has actually been issued it should only be withdrawn if it has been issued contrary to your local authority's code of practice. If you do not pay the LA may withdraw the fine or they may take you to court.

It won’t go to court for 6 days’ unauthorised absence

I wouldn't rely on this. Some LAs would take this to court. Over 20,000 parents per year are prosecuted.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Mar-19 09:00:13

I would start with a measured email to school

I'm afraid that is unlikely to help. As I say above, there is no appeal. Once the fixed penalty notice has been issued the school generally has no say in what happens.

It may be worth contacting the council and pointing out that you are being fined for a day when your son was sent home by the school. Counting that as an unauthorised absence and fining you for it seems harsh to me but, without knowing which local authority we are talking about and what their code of practice says, I don't know if that argument will get you anywhere.

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 09:41:09

I spoke to council the day he was sent home, they were actually really good about it and even agreed it was unfair, they agreed the time in hospital should have been exceptional circumstances however, the marks were down to the school and the council suggested I speak to school about getting them changed which I did but they refused to amend them from unauthorised.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Mar-19 10:33:18

Go back to the council. They have the ability to withdraw the fine. Concentrate on the latest absence which is due to the school sending him home.

BoxOfBabyCheeses Mon 18-Mar-19 10:38:37

Do you know what his overall attendance is? With our council they will only fine if attendance drops below 90%. Has he had many unauthorized absences previously?

When they told you it happened after the first day why was it allowed to continue for 5 more days? Didn't your partner ensure he went into the school after the first time you received the truancy texts? Where did he go for the 5 days when nobody knew where he was?

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 11:02:15

No unauthorised previously but he has had abscences.
After the first day I apologised and explained the situation, he was spoken to and trusted to go in. No one “allowed” it to happen, there wasn’t much I could do from the hospital and my partner doesn’t really get involved because then we end up with threats from his dad. He just dossed about on the park he told me. What I do know is that this wouldn’t have happened had we not been in hospital.

BoxOfBabyCheeses Mon 18-Mar-19 16:21:22

I do think the council should override it with extenuating circumstances, if you could speak to your doctor or health visitor and ask for a letter explaining that you were 40 miles away then it might help. Also ask the school for a written statement detailing the abuse that your ex gave, and the reason he was absent the second time. I believe the school should take some blame in that sense.

I'm not sure if it's possible, but I hope that they can help you. And I hope that you and baby are both home and happy now.

feelinghthelove Mon 18-Mar-19 18:42:38

Thank you! We are home, all fixed, healthy and happy!

CanIsellmykidsonebay Mon 18-Mar-19 23:26:21

I was taken a court by LA and won! Different circumstances to yours - yours sounds 1000% worst and shouldnt be held against you!! - but I felt I was in the right and refused to pay on principal!! If you have not received a fine yet I wouldn't worry yet but if you do then ring up the council and explain, don't bother with school it's pointless they just note unauthorised absences, my council didn't agree with my argument but that just stuffed them!! Judge made her look stupid. I understand these fines to a degree but the way the LA think they can just rinse everyone they assume is on holiday disgusts me, I can't wait for my kids to leave school!

feelinghthelove Tue 19-Mar-19 00:16:58

Wow, well done you!!

I’m going to forward our hospital discharge letter along with a written letter to school and the council this week. I’m going to focus on the full week off since that’s the majority of unauthorised abscences.
I would mind I would never dream of taking my kids out of school for a holiday!

prh47bridge Tue 19-Mar-19 08:16:20

Personally I would focus on the day he was sent home. I think you have a stronger case there. By all means argue both but don't ignore the latter.

feelinghthelove Tue 19-Mar-19 09:40:57

Good point. Will do. Thank you everyone!

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