Charities back Peterborough mum's campaign after council fine for taking sick son on holiday while he can

A Peterborough mum has called for more leniency for families with children who have life limiting conditions after being fined for taking her son out of school.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 4:53 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:12 am
Rahim Ebrahim of Dogsthorpe with his children Sinan (1), Xyva (3) and Raihan Ebrahim (10) a cystic fibrosis sufferer EMN-170315-084357009

Nazleem Ebrahaim was fined £120 after she and husband Rahim took son Raihan to Kenya.

Raihan, now aged 10, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after being born, and needs regular medical appointments.

Nazleen said: “We wanted to take the time because Raihan’s condition will only get worse - he is in the best years of his life, and we wanted to make memories as a family.

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“The school knew the situation, and we thought there would be understanding, but they said they had to refer it to the council. We were fined £60 each.

“We were told there is a discretion for holidays to be taken, and I think in this situation discretion should have been used.

“His attendance is a bit lower than the average child because of the number of medical appointments he has to have.

“He has a long routine every morning and evening to help him deal with his condition.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund, and CLC World Resorts & Hotels are now campaigning for other families in the same situation not to be fined.

Laurie Howard, Director at the Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund, said: “The lives of families are totally geared around providing care for a child with this debilitating illness. Holidays are vital for the well-being of the children, their siblings and parents. This is just about the only time during the year a family can spend quality time together.”

“For these families to then face fines could deny them the opportunity to make memories together. It creates unnecessary stress for parents who are already facing financial and emotional difficulties.”

A Peterborough City Council spokeswoman said: “This fine was paid by the parents in February 2014 and relates to an absence in December 2013 when the school felt that at that time, the holiday could have waited until the formal Christmas break.

“While the council is guided by schools whose role it is to authorise requests for pupil absence or not, we want to reassure parents that each case is reviewed individually and that we will consider fully any extenuating circumstances when they are made clear to us.”