Worst Excuse Ever? Cat Poo Made Kids Miss School, Claims Dad

14/08/2014 17:02 | Updated 20 May 2015

Portrait of cat sitting on door mat

A father accused of letting his children play truant stunned a court with a far-fetched list of excuses for their absences which included cat poo and a leaky roof.

Gareth Beresford, 32, appeared at Blackpool Magistrate's Court accused of knowingly failing to ensure the school attendance of his two daughters, aged six and nine.

It was the third time he had appeared in court for the same offence, but this time he came prepared with a list of astonishing excuses, including lateness coming back from a visit to Preston, a leaky roof caused by rain, and, most bizarrely, cat poo.

The family cat had defecated outside his daughters' bedroom door, he claimed, and the girls refused to leave the room, thereby forcing them to miss school.

Suzanne Holroyd, prosecuting on behalf of Blackpool Council, reeled off the list of the excuses that Mr Beresford had offered for the girls' low attendance records, which had dipped to 85 and 86 per cent when authorities were called in.

"Mr Beresford said that when the girls visited their mother in Preston she would bring them back late," she told the court.

"Then he said that the family cat had defecated outside the girls' bedroom door and they could not get past it.

"Then he said they did not attend school because the roof of their flat had been raining in."

Janet Boccaccio, the chairman of the bench, got to the heart of the matter when she asked the defendant what time he normally got up in the morning, to which he answered 'between eight and nine'.

Pupils at Thames Primary School are recorded as late if they arrive after 8.55am and absent if they have not arrived by 9.30am.

Boccaccio had harsh words for Beresford, telling him: "You should try getting up earlier and make sure to get your daughters to school rather than give these apologies... Your daughters' education is important."

She placed Mr Beresford under a weekend curfew between 9pm and 7am.

Persistent poor attendance has been shown to have a direct impact on academic achievement.

A 2010 DfE report showed that only three per cent of students whose attendance was 50 per cent or less going on to attain five A*-C grades at GSCE, compared to 73 percent of those whose attendance was over 95 percent.


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