'I'm disgusted' Furious mum fined after son, 14, misses school because he's sick


Justine Hampshire branded the penalty “absolutely disgusting” as she had provided her local authority with medical evidence to explain why 14-year-old son Jack Hardy was off school. The teenager was diagnosed with migraines in August last year and doctors are still investigating further problems with his stomach.

Due to this ill-health, Jack missed significant periods of time out of Audenshaw School in Denton, Greater Manchester, between September and December last year.

But Justine received the fine last month and has since paid it, as she was concerned it would double and she would go to court.

The single mum said: “I’m disgusted that I’m being fined because my son is sick. I think it’s absolutely disgusting.

“I’m having to force him into school when he’s not feeling well. I’m scared I’m going to get fined.

“It’s not as if I’ve taken him out of school to go on holiday.”

Justine also told Manchester Evening News she always rings in whenever Jack is unwell.

“I know £60 isn’t a lot but it’s the principle of it. We shouldn’t be punished for our children being sick, it’s not fair,” Justine, from Denton, continued.

“I don’t think I should be fined and punished for him being sick. It’s really not fair.”

The mum claimed evidence she sent to Tameside Council did not meet the “criteria” but she said she shouldn’t have to ring the GP every time Jack gets another migraine when he already has a diagnosis.

She added: “It’s not a just normal headache – he can’t function. He has them bad and he vomits as well. He has to sleep it off.

“In September he started having troubles with his stomach. He was having really bad stomach pains and was being sick.

“This is still ongoing now. The doctor has informed us that he’s got to go for more tests because he’s got something up with him.”

Tameside Council, which is controlled by the Labour Party, said penalty notices are only issued when children have a minimum of 10 unauthorised sessions of absence.

A spokesman for the authority said: “While we are unable to discuss individual cases, we can confirm we have a code of conduct for issuing penalty notice warnings and penalty notices.

“These are only issued by the council upon application by the school following 10 sessions of unauthorised absence.

“Parents will be issued with a penalty notice warning prior to a penalty notice if the absence is due to reasons other than a holiday in term time.

“It is only after a further period of absence that a penalty notice would be issued.

“For children who have on going medical conditions, medical evidence must be provided to ensure further periods of absence are authorised.

“Parents are provided with a contact within the council should they have further information that they want to submit if they believe that the penalty notice has been issued erroneously.”


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