Shropshire

Shropshire school refuses boy leave for mum's wedding

Clive Primary School
The head teacher of the school, Mary Lucas, said parents are welcome to talk to her about any issues

A nine-year-old boy has been refused leave from school to attend his mother's wedding.

Claire Whitelegg, who is getting married in Cornwall on Tuesday, asked Clive School in Shropshire if her son could be absent for three days.

She believed her marriage fulfilled the criteria of "exceptional circumstances" necessary to legitimately take children out of class in term time.

The school said it received the request seven days before the absence dates.

'Couldn't wait'

Ms Whitelegg said: "My partner and I both work full time for the police and we do shift work.

"It's almost impossible for us to get leave at the same time as each other in the school holidays, so we couldn't wait until then."

She said she would ignore the decision and would appeal against any fines.

Head teacher of Clive School, Mary Lucas, said: "The school will only authorise leave in exceptional circumstances.

'Open door'

"On 16 June 2014 we received an application for a pupil leave of absence from 23 to 25 June."

Mrs Lucas said the school had a "very clear open-door policy" and she "would have been happy to talk to the parents about this request".

In a second statement, she said the school had received a "brief request" five working days before the proposed absence "which did not even make clear that it was the pupil's mother's wedding".

"If she had come into school to...explain it was her own wedding and why it had to be on this particular date, such as her working patterns, then it would have been quite likely that we would have agreed," she said.

The school said fines would only be given to a parent in cases of five days' unauthorised absence or more. "It appears that this is not the case in this situation," they said.

Shropshire Council said the head teacher of individual schools decided whether any case was exceptional.

Although fines can be imposed for unauthorised absence, it is at the discretion of the local authority.

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