‘Council should pay us compensation’

Gordon White talking to teachers Steve Stiles, Amos Turbey and Jennifer Bloyce.
Gordon White talking to teachers Steve Stiles, Amos Turbey and Jennifer Bloyce.

A parent has written to Northamptonshire County Council asking for £240 for failing to provide education for his two children during the day of the teacher’s strike.

Chris Walker, a father of two pupils at West Haddon Primary School had to use some of his holiday to look after his children on Tuesday as the school was closed due to strike action by the NUT and NASUWT.

Mr Walker said he wanted to claim the money back from the council because that was the amount he would be fined if he failed to ensure his children went to school.

At the start of the September term, new Department of Education rules were introduced which stated that parents could be fined £60 for each child if they took them out of school during term time. Therefore, a two-parent family with two children could be fined £240.

He said: “We do not support the teachers taking industrial action or the views or actions of these teachers, but do understand they have a legal right to hold these opinions and take this action.

“Our main issue is with the heavy and enforced stance of both the local and national government regarding unauthorised absence for school children. To this date we have never taken our children out of school for holidays or activities and therefore might never be put into the situation of receiving a fine.

“But we strongly believe in a fair and equal society where rules, regulation and laws are equal to all across the board, whether it be individuals, businesses, schools, local authorities, law enforcement or government.

“We feel we have no other option but to make a claim equal to any fine that would be levied at us as parents had we withheld our children from attending school on another day.”

A spokesperson from Northamptonshire County Council said the regulations were introduced by the Department of Education in an effort to increase attendance and achievement.

The spokesman said: “It is estimated that missing two weeks of term time in each year of a child’s school life is the same as missing one whole school year.”