Trevor and Joanne Cannon asked Basildon Lower Academy for permission to take their son Alfie,13, out of school for a two-week trip to Malta with his grandfather George Mills, who is terminally ill.
The couple say the school didn't think the holiday was classed as an 'exceptional circumstance', but they decided to take the trip anyway as Trevor is allocated holiday dates from his job as a bus driver and couldn't change them.
When they returned, Trevor and Joanna received two letters charging them each £60.
"I've been fined and, fair enough, I'll pay the fine, that doesn't bother me, it is the principle. They sent us a letter saying it is not a good enough reason, but what is a good reason?
"I was told by someone if he was to die they would have allowed it, but if he had died we would not be going on a family holiday.
"Alfie is quite close to his nan and grandad. They spoil him rotten and he is always doing something with them and it might have been his last holiday with his grandad.
"I don't think it is very fair. It was all booked up and we were not going to lose all the money, so we decided to go and face the consequences afterwards. We got home and now Alfie's grandad is quite poorly."
In the past, parents were usually 'allowed' up to 10 days out of school a year for holidays.
But new legislation came into force in September 2013, which says schools are now only able to grant time off under 'exceptional circumstances' – with each school deciding what counts.
Alfie's school did not comment when approached by the Echo News, and a Department for Education spokesman said the decision about whether a case meets the exceptional circumstances requirement is taken by the headteacher.
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