Mum's anger as 'educational' trip for her two sons lands her with court papers

Date published: 02 September 2020

An angry mum has hit out at Oldham Council education chiefs now she is facing a court appearance for taking her two children on what she saw as an educational trip to Germany during term time.

Samantha Dutton was initially handed a £240 fine after her two boys - Callum and Tommy - missed their Littlemoor Primary School studies for a week last November as they visited war graves with their grandfather, a former soldier.

Her sons, who both have learning difficulties, were aged six and eight at the time.

They live at home with mum Samantha and dad Gareth Ormerod in Derker.

Samantha said: "Oldham council are charging me even though the children have been off school since lockdown.

"I'd like to know why is my teaching appropriate now, but not for the trip?

"All the way through lockdown we haven't been offered support or been given work for the boys either.

"I don't understand why my home schooling is acceptable for seven months and not for a week."

Samantha clearly feels her sons learned much about such historical sites during the Germany trip, particularly given they were escorted by a proud forces veteran.  

She added: "Callum and Tommy went to Germany for a week to visit the war graves and monuments with my parents as my dad fought in the Falklands and Northern Ireland.

"With it being 100 years since the end of the World War, my dad wanted to educate the children on what's happened in the past and give them a greater understanding and respect that it deserves.

"My children have excellent attendance any other time and are never late for school.

"Yet we are being targeted as an example when I know of other families who keep their children off school and haven't been fined.

"I have now been sent papers to attend court on September 17 and could receive a criminal record."

An Oldham Council spokesperson said: “This is a historical case going back to pre-covid times and relates to a matter where a holiday was taken in term time without permission from the school. 

"The parent did not pay the fixed penalty notice issued which can lead to prosecution, this is clearly set out in correspondence to parent/carers.

“While we are sympathetic to the details involved in this case it is important parents and carers remember that they should contact schools before such trips and secure permission for the child to be absent.

“Attendance at schools is crucial to a young person’s education and life outcomes and it is parents’ responsibility to ensure regular attendance. 

"Following Covid, children and young people are now required to return to school so it is even more important that parents and carers speak to their schools if there is an exception reason why they think their child is unable to attend.”

Littlemoor Primary School was also approached for comment by the Chronicle, but they have not responded.

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