A mother has been fined by her local council after she took her children out of school to go on holiday in Spain and France.
Zara Heal, 28, took her children, Cody, 8, and Miley, 6, abroad in September and November last year. She told the Mid-Devon Gazette that she'd wanted to take them away to take their minds off her divorce from their father, as well as to teach them about overseas values.
She also claimed that the holiday had an educational value, because not only did her daughter learn to swim, but her son developed his language skills. She said: "Cody really enjoys his French lessons. ... Of his own accord, he had a conversation in French with a member of staff there, which made me incredibly proud. When in school would they of had this opportunity?"
However, the paper reported that Devon county council was not impressed with the fact she had been on holiday. Even though each child had taken no more than four days off, she was hit with a fine for £120, which she paid.
She told the Mid-Devon Gazette that she'd never have taken the children away at a crucial time of year: "I just think it is ridiculous. I understand where they are coming from to a certain extent if the child is constantly missing school but it's not like this happens regularly."
A Devon county council spokesperson told the paper: "In September 2013 the Government instructed headteachers in England not to grant absence for pupils in term time except in 'exceptional circumstances' such as illness. Penalty notices require the parent of a child whose attendance has been unsatisfactory to pay a fine of £60."
Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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