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Chelmsford man challenges Gove over term-time school holiday fine
3:48pm Monday 30th June 2014 in News
A CITY worker from Chelmsford is being prosecuted after he refused to pay a £120 fine dished out to him for taking his son out of school in term time.
James Haymore took his three children out of Chancellor Park Primary School in the Spring term to attend the memorial service of his wife Dana's grandfather in California.
The school's headmistress Claire Mills refused to authorise the absence of 11-year-old Toby, Mr Haymore's eldest son, but reportedly allowed Brayden, eight and Ellie, five, and the family returned from the trip to find a £120 fine on their doormat.
Mr Haymore refused to pay and will appear before Colchester Magistrates' Court next month where faces a jail term and £2,500 fine.
Mr Haymore, an account manager at city firm JP Morgan who moved to the UK from the USA four-years-ago, told the Sunday Times: "We didn’t feel like this was a family holiday.
"This was an expat family going home for Christmas for the first time in four years to attend the last ever memorial service following the death of Dana’s grandfather. It would provide some relief to our family from the emotional strain we had been feeling."
"Our eldest son is academically the star pupil of his class.
"One member of staff was amazed that we were being fined. She said if any of the students could miss a week without it affecting his education, it was him.
"We are good people. I’ve never even been to court before. I just hope challenging the system will help to change it."
The case is the first of its kind after Michael Gove, the Government's education secretary, tightened the rules on children missing school in September.
Lib Dem MP John Hemming, is backing Parents Want A Say, a campaign group that has collected a 200,000-signature petition against rules introduced by Gove to only allow absences in 'exceptional circumstances'.
Mr Hemming is also backing Mr Haymore in his fight against the Gove's policy.