Term-time holiday prosecution abandoned

Essex County Council has dropped the prosecution of a couple for taking their child out of school during term-time for a family visit after they emigrated to America.

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Council abandons prosecution of couple over term-time school holiday

James and Dana Haymore arriving at Colchester Magistrates' Court in July. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex County Council has withdrawn a legal case against a couple for taking their child out of school during term-time for a family visit.

James and Dana Haymore pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to ensure their child attends school when they were summoned to Colchester Magistrates' Court in July.

The family took one of their three children out of Chancellor Park Primary School in Chelmsford for a trip to America for a memorial service. The family has now emigrated to the United States.

Cllr Ray Gooding, Cabinet member for Education and Lifelong Learning at Essex County Council, said: “We have had to take a decision based on the public interest of pursuing a case where the family have emigrated and are no longer being educated in an Essex school.

“This is an unusual situation but we have chosen to be pragmatic and accept that continuing with the prosecution serves little purpose and will cost the council money. We take unauthorised absence very seriously and support the principle of the Government’s strengthening of the rules in September 2013, which meant that term-time absence had to be authorised by head teachers and only in exceptional circumstances. It is extremely important to remember that in this case, the school followed the policy to the letter.”

– Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council

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Term time holiday test case: Lawyer's statement

Lawyers from Liberty, representing James and Dana Haymore from Essex, who are being prosecuted for failing to ensure that their son “regularly attended school” have released a statement following the latest court hearing.

The couple, who are originally from the USA, were refused permission to take one of their children out of primary school for a family reunion in America intended to commemorate Mrs Haymore’s grandfather, who had recently died.

“Common sense must prevail here. Is criminalising parents for taking their children out of school for momentous family events really the best use of Council resources, court time and public money? The rules that led to the Haymores’ ordeal go no way towards addressing the deeper and more complex social problems that contribute to some children repeatedly missing school.”

– Rosie Brighouse, Liberty’s Legal Officer

Term-time holiday test case adjourned

Colchester Magistrates have adjourned the term-time holiday case until October. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A test case which challenges fines imposed on parents who take their children out of school during term time has been adjourned at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

James and Dana Haymore have pleaded not guilty a charge of failing to ensure their child attends school. The family took their three children out of Chancellor Park Primary School in Chelmsford for a trip to America for a memorial service.

The case relates to one of the children who the court heard had an 87% attendance record.

The couple is claiming the prosecution is a breach of their human rights and the children's right to a family life. The case was adjourned until 10 October.

Family challenges prosecution for term-time 'holiday'

James and Dana Haymore arriving at Colchester Magistrates' Court in Essex. Credit: ITV News Anglia

James and Dana Haymore have arrived at court in Colchester as they face prosecution for taking their three children out of school in Essex to attend a memorial service in America.

The couple are to challenge the case claiming it breaches their human rights and it could be a test case against a government clampdown on children missing school for term-time holidays.

Mr Haymore, who works for banking giant J.P. Morgan, is being prosecuted for taking his three children out of Chancellor Park Primary in Chelmsford without permission. He is expected to argue that the decision to prosecute him is a breach of the Human Rights Act and his children's right to a family life.

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