Worksop: Couple fined for taking son out of school for Las Vegas wedding

A Worksop couple returned from their dream wedding in Las Vegas to find out they had been slapped with fines from their son’s school.

Barry and Joanne Wilkinson, of Raines Avenue, both received a £60 fine for taking Jack, 14, out of Outwood Academy Valley.

The out-of-pocket pair say the school told them that they would not ‘pursue’ the issue - but on their return back to the UK, claim the school had gone back on their word.

“I was raging,” Joanne said.

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“If there was anything we could have done differently we would have, but that was the only date we could do.”

“The school told me that nobody ever gets fined and that if we did get fined we should appeal it.”

“What annoys me is that Jack and my other children are good kids who always turn up and never truant, they are always there.”

“It was because it was a five-week term so the attendance percentage was below what they expect. If we had booked it in a longer term, it would have been okay.”

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Joanne, who works in a high street bank, and Barry, who works in construction, jetted off to Vegas in October for 12 days, meaning Jack missed 10 days of school.

”It is a stealth tax,” Barry said.

“There were other people from school who attended our wedding but they have not been fined as of yet.”

“The school told us it was Notts County Council who had initiated the fine, but when we contacted the council they said it was the school.”

“We paid the fines otherwise we would go to court.”

Despite several attempts by the Guardian to contact Outwood Academy Valley, the school was unavailable to comment.

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When this newspaper contacted them last month regarding a disciplinary issue, a spokesman for Outwood Grange Academies said: “When we started working with the schools in Worksop, Valley was in the ‘Required Improvement’ category.”

“The school is now ‘Outstanding’, which has been achieved due to our strategic approach to the behaviour system.”

Denis McCarthy, targeted support operations manager at Notts County Council. said: “Parents should not arrange holidays without prior consultation with the head teacher.”

“The head teacher will only allow it in exceptional circumstances and we have issued guidance on what should be classed as exceptional circumstances.”