Dad gets £120 fine after kids taken on term-time holiday ‘he didn’t know about’

A fuming single dad says he was hit a £120 fine for a term-time holiday his kids went on with his ex that he "didn't even know about".

Matthew Beale, who says he's now struggling because of the fine, was slapped with the penalty after his kids were taken out of their Walsall primary school during term time by, he says, his ex-partner.

The dad of two, whose kids live with their mum, has hit out at the rules after receiving a £60 fine for each child for the six-week holiday to Australia between April 5 and June 9.

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However, because his name is on the birth certificate, he said appeals to both Radleys Primary School and Walsall Council to rescind the fine have hit a brick wall.

Now, the logistics manager says he will have to borrow money from friends or family, leaving him "out of pocket" for three months as he pays back the debt in instalments.

The mum, who was visiting family abroad for the first time since the pandemic, has also been fined the same amount.

"I contacted them to explain I didn't know, I don't live with the children, but they explained I have the parental responsibility," Mr Beale, whose kids are aged five and eight, told Black Country Live.

"The frustrating part for me is, while trying not to pay the fine, I've asked for advice from the headteacher on how I can avoid this."

The school reportedly told Mr Beale he should have made a call to them to say he "disagrees with the kids being taken out of school".

He added: "Even if I did know they were going on holiday, how would I stop another human being going to the airport?

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"So to pay £120 for not being able to control the actions of another adult is ridiculous."

He has until August 14 to pay the fine, or will see it double. He continued: "I'm a single dad struggling to survive who has had a period of unemployment of two months this year.

"I'm going to have to borrow off friends and family that's the only way I'm going to be able to afford it."

Mr Beale now plans to speak to the Education Welfare Service and the Citizens Advice Bureau for help.

Walsall Council said: “If a child is taken out of school without authorisation, the school will notify the local authority and both parents/carers will be issued with penalty notices – each with a responsibility to pay their own notice(s).

"School headteachers are advised not to grant any leave of absence during term time for any purpose unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

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