Maddie Stevens missed school for mom’s funeral, school “truly sorry” for penalising her
UK / Coventry – The headteacher at St. Giles Junior School in Bedworth issued an apology over banning Maddie Stevens from going on a school trip.
Skipped school to attend mom’s funeral
Maddie Stevens had to be absent from school for a day to attend her mother’s funeral. Her mother, Gail Stevens, succumbed to her two-year battle with cancer in January at a hospice. The 11-year-old girl then found out she couldn’t go to Frankie & Benny’s with her friends for the end-of-term school restaurant treat, because it was only for students with full attendance. The girl did not tell her father until the trip was over.
Her father, Andy Stevens, was reported to be upset. “It’s so insensitive after everything Maddie has been through. “She has been absolutely amazing since her mum died. She took only one day off to go the funeral, because we wanted to keep things as normal as we could.”
Hardline stance against holidays during term-time applauded
Former Education Secretary Michael Gove introduced the possibility of parents being fined for taking children out of school for family holidays. Nicky Morgan agreed with Gove’s stance. “For every day or half-day that a child misses [school], it does affect their education. From the prime minister downwards, we have made it clear that being in schools during term time is the best place for children to be. I’m really clear that will continue.”
The full overview of the government’s stand on school absence can be found here. While the policy is reasonable, the implementation seem to indicate otherwise. The Mirror reported earlier this summer a nine-year-old boy was refused leave to attend his mum’s wedding. And mum Maxine Ingrouille-Kidd faces a fine for taking her blind and terminally ill son out of school for what could be his last ever holiday.
School system incapable of reflecting reason for absence
In her apology, headteacher Anne Perry stated “the data used to decide which children were eligible was produced by the Government backed data (SIMS) system that all schools use. It effectively identified those children who had solely achieved 100% attendance but did not report reasons for absence.”
Maybe it is time to improve the SIMS data system so policies can be administered with reason and compassion.
Maddie Stevens has a JustGiving page to raise funds for The Myton Hospices, the hospice that cared for her mother and the family till her passing. You can visit the page here to donate.