14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

School Governor Fined For Taking Daughter Out Of School For Holiday


No one is immune from the new laws that forbid parents to take their children out of school for a family holiday during term-time – even school governors.

That's what dad-of-five Paul Lawton discovered when he took his 13-year-old daughter out of the academy where he sits on the governing board.

The 42-year-old and his wife Emma, 33, were hit with a fine by the local authority after they admitted deliberately allowing their daughter to skip school for 11 days to go on a family holiday in July last year.

But they also provoked the ire of parents, who said, in his position, the governor should have been setting an example.

One angry mum said: "Mr Lawton is an absolute disgrace and is not worthy of his position as governor. Parents get constantly bleated at about taking their kids out of school to go on holidays - and he of all people should know all about that.

"Even though we are left virtually broke due to the hike in holiday prices during non-term time, most of us toe the line because we don't want to get into any trouble.

"But this fellow has thrown the rule book out of the window. He should be setting the example to us and the children - not jetting off to Spain and trotting out all the usual excuses under the sun. What he's done has made a mockery of the school."

Mr Lawton told a court that part of the holiday involved visiting a sick relative and therefore he refused to pay the £60 fine.

As a result, they were ordered before magistrates in Macclesfield.

The couple, from Gawsworth, Cheshire both admitted a charge of failing to ensure a child of compulsory school age attended school regularly.

Magistrates told Mr Lawton he 'should have known better' and fined both him and his wife £60 with costs of £70 each.

After the hearing, Richard Hedge, headteacher at Macclesfield Academy, said: "Our success in achieving some of England's most rapidly rising standards over the seven terms since we opened has been based, in part, on improving the attendance of students at school.

"Permission to be absent from the Academy is granted only in exceptional circumstances."