County news: Schools fine mum over visit to dying relative

A mum has criticised two schools for fining her after she took her sons to Egypt during term time to visit their dying paternal grandmother.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:01 pm
Solomon with his father Ibrahim. SUS-160405-131449001

Mandie Ibrahim filled in a permission form for sons Solomon and Louis to take seven days out of school to make the emergency visit.

However when she got back, she discovered St Leonard’s CofE Primary School and Ark William Parker Academy had fined her a combined total of £120.

Mandie, of Redmayne Drive, Hastings, said: “All we did while we were over there was go in and out of family’s homes, visiting family.

“We did not lay by the pool all day long and sun it up.”

Mandie flew with Thompson and was told it was their last flight to the troubled country until October.

Mandie said: “You can see how bad it is over there. You can tell everyone is suffering.

“It’s definitely not a happy holiday you would pick to go on.”

Mandie used her overdraft to pay for the trip to Egypt and now has to find more funds to pay the fine.

She said: “I just feel let down by the system really – that they cannot allow us that time. They feel its more important for children to go to school than have any form of personal life.

“All of life’s learning is not just between four walls.”

Mandie lived in Egypt for a number of years but returned to the UK while pregnant with Solomon.

Although Mandie remained in England, she is still close to her husband, who lives in Egypt.

She said: “Our marriage has ended but I never stopped taking my sons to see him. But I have not taken them out of school times to do that – this is the one time I have done that.”

Both schools were contacted for comment.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “While we provide support to schools in dealing with unauthorised absence, authorisation of requests for absence during term time is at the discretion of individual head teachers, taking into account Department for Education guidance. Parents can appeal against a decision to refuse to authorise absence to the school, either before the intended absence or after a penalty notice has been issued, provided it is before the expiry of the due payment date. The decision on whether to uphold an appeal is taken by the head of the school in question.”

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