Parents have 'no regrets' over honeymoon holiday

Image source, The Scott family
Image caption,
The couple have until 7 December to decide whether to pay £300 costs and accept cautions

A couple who had to go to court for taking their child out of school to go on their honeymoon have "no regrets".

Janine and Shane Scott, from Stockton, on Teesside, took Elissa, seven, to New York for five days believing it was an "exceptional circumstance".

But when they returned they were given fixed penalty notices by St John's Church of England Primary School.

They refused to pay but magistrates backed the school and ordered the couple to pay its costs.

The school said the couple had booked the trip without "prior discussion".

Mr and Mrs Scott said they had refused to pay the £60 fixed penalty notice on principle when they appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

'Really short notice'

They now have until 7 December to decide whether to pay £300 towards the school's costs and accept a caution, or to fight the case and risk criminal convictions if they lose.

Mrs Scott said: "I don't regret taking Elissa on our honeymoon - it was definitely in her best interests, but in hindsight I'd request permission in writing from the school.

"I do now also regret that decision to phone up; it was short notice."

She added: "We did ask the school beforehand but the school's problem was we didn't ask in writing. I just rang the school a few days before we went.

Mrs Scott denies ringing the school from New York to report her daughter's absence, adding: "I wouldn't have spent money phoning up the school from New York.

"That didn't happen. I do accept though that it was really short notice when we phoned the school.

"I still believe now in the five days she was there she got a lot more education than she would [have] in the five days if she was at school."

Image source, The Scott family
Image caption,
The parents of seven-year-old Elissa said the trip was educational

Mr Scott, a 27-year-old bus driver, said he had four weeks holiday allowance a year and was unable to take any of it during the school holidays.

Mrs Scott, 28, also said their honeymoon was educational for Elissa with trips to the 9/11 memorial, Broadway, the National History Museum and Wall Street.

A statement from the school said: "What is particularly disappointing in this case is that the holiday was booked without prior discussion with the school.

"The school was then informed when the holiday had already started.

"We try to be fair to everyone, but in our view having drawn a very clear line which the vast majority of parents respect, we were left with no choice but to request that fixed penalty notices be issued when that line was crossed."

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