Newlyweds who took daughter, 8, out of school for £3k honeymoon in New York given cautions

A NEWLYWED couple who removed their daughter from school to go on honeymoon in New York were cautioned by a court.

Janine and Shane Scott avoided getting a criminal record after they jetted to New York for five days with Elissa when she was eight years old on the dream £3,000 trip last year.


The parents, from Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, believed Elissa's head teacher Kerry Coe at St John’s Church of England Primary School would allow time off for “exceptional circumstances”.

Janine, 28, and Scott, 27, appeared at Teeside Magistrates Court in November over the case.

They faced a possible three-month jail sentence and a £2,500 fine after fighting £60 fixed penalty notices.

But they were given the option of a caution and paying a "contribution" to Stockton Council, Teeside Live reports.

PARENTS CAUTIONED

The case was adjourned until December 7 to allow Janine and Shane to decide if they would accept the council’s offer.

A magistrate warned the mum and dad that a caution “would be best”.

Officials later confirmed they accepted the offer and paid undisclosed legal costs to the council.

Speaking last year, Janine, 28, said: “This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I fully support regular attendance but it was our honeymoon.

Taking a child out of school – the law

Parents are only allowed to let their children miss school if they are sick or have received advanced permission from the headteacher.

Previously heads could grant 10 days of authorised absence in 'special circrumstances' but now can grant absence outside school holidays only in 'exceptional circumstances'.

Parents who take their kids out of school will be slapped with a £60 fine which rises to £120 if it's not paid within 21 days.

In the worst case scenario you could be prosecuted and slapped with a £2,500, get a community order and jailed for three months.

“The head teacher told us that she only gives permission in exceptional circumstances, and she felt this still did not meet that.”

She added: “She has only ever been off through illness, but you have to have evidence of that, so if you don’t have a GP note that does not count as authorised either.”

Janine believes the £3,000 holiday – paid for by wedding guests – was educational as it included trips to the 9/11 memorial, the Natural History Museum and Wall Street.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I fully support regular attendance but it was our honeymoon

Elissa’s attendance record at St John’s Church of England Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees was 92.5% in 2017.

Shane, 27, said: “It is absolutely scandalous…It is a punishment, and a disgrace.”

Under the law, parents are only allowed to let their children miss school if they are sick or have received advanced permission from the headteacher.

Speaking last year, Elissa’s headteacher Kerry Coe said: “The parents booked a holiday in term time without any prior discussion with the school.

“We were left with no choice but to request that a fixed penalty notice be issued.”


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