Term Time Holidays: Dad Going To Court To Fight Crackdown

An angry dad is going to court to fight the Government's crackdown on parents taking their children out of school during term time because he claims it breaches his human rights.

James Haymore was summonsed to court after he refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his children to America for six days at the start of the spring term for a memorial service for their great-grandfather.

Mr Haymore, a City banker, is going to argue that the decision to prosecute him for taking his three children out of school is a breach of the Human Rights Act.

Since last September, new rules have been imposed on parents, threatening them with a fine if they take their children out of lessons.

Education Secretary Michael Gove ended a policy that allowed schools to grant up to 10 days holiday a year to families in 'special circumstances'.

Headteachers have since refused requests for parents to take their children out of school so they can go on cheaper holidays and in some cases to funerals.

Mr Haymore told the Sunday Times: "There's a question here as to whether Michael Gove's judgment about when all children should always take holidays is better than a family's judgment."

Mr Haymore, of Chelmsford in Essex, was refused permission to take his children, Toby, 11, Brayden, eight, and Ellie, five, out of Chancellor Park primary school.

They flew to California anyway for a memorial service for the great-grandfather of his wife, Dana.

The family was fined £120 and Mr Haymore refused to pay and was summonsed to court.

He will appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court next month.

John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP who has fought to open up the family courts is advising the family.

He said the challenge was 'the test case we have been waiting for and we are very hopeful of winning'.

Mr Hemming has collected more than 200,000 signatures from parents on a petition calling for headteachers to approve absences in 'exceptional circumstances'.

Figures released last month revealed 24,000 children take time off school to go on holidays.

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