A wedding's no excuse to let your child skip a school day
23:30 GMT, 11 October 2012
A mother will be in court next week for refusing to pay a fine for taking her son out of school in term time, in order to attend her wedding ceremony in St Lucia.
Bride Frances Harden was denied permission to take Harrison, 13, out of school for her wedding in April — even though she had asked a year earlier for consent.
So what Minor hiccup. In true bridezilla fashion — it’s all about me! — she went ahead with her plans anyway. Upon her return, she was promptly fined 50 for her son’s two-week absence from Marple Hall School in Stockport.
Dream wedding: Ms White had been planning her big day to marry to Nick Harden, for more than a year
At this point, most sensible readers — whether they approve or not of this Caribbean truancy lunacy — might suggest that the practical thing to do would have been to pay up and shut up. To take the punishment. To see it as an added wedding expense, then ensure her son studied hard to catch up. End of. Class dismissed. Move on.
But angry 31-year-old Frances refused to pay the local council’s anti-truancy penalty on principle — although I must say, it looks more like peeved self-interest to me.
Her refusal has resulted in the fine doubling to 100 and rising.
She has been summoned to appear in
court where she faces bigger fines, possibly also costs, not to mention
the possibility of a black mark on her credit rating.
a mess — and why such a sudden fit of post-ceremony morality anyway
Mrs Harden says the school’s fixed-penalty fine system is ridiculous,
and that the rules should have been bent for this special occasion.
Her younger son — whose father is her new husband, Nick — was allowed time off by his primary school, so why not Harrison
Bride Frances White with her husband Nick Harden and her sons Harrison (centre right) and Alex at her wedding in St Lucia.
Yet the boy was away for more than ten school days — quite a long time for a teenager in secondary education.
Mrs Harden claims they had to book the wedding in term time because she and her now husband ‘both work full-time and it was the only time everyone could get there because it was so far away’.
Well, exactly. Getting to St Lucia is not easy — it’s not called ‘long haul’ for nothing, Frances!
And if getting married was suddenly so important, why not do it in the town hall during term time, instead of making everyone traipse halfway around the world to gawp in the sand at your frock
Mrs Harden, a care assistant, had been planning her 8,000 ceremony for more than a year; she is another statistic in the trend for splashy, exotic wed-o-hols that are exhausting and expensive for everyone involved — but make the bride sure look purdy!
Going to court: Ms White and Harrison outside his school gates in Marple near Stockport
And we all know that a wedding in term time is also much cheaper, don’t we
So is a holiday, as every parent gritting their teeth to fork out premium prices for two weeks in the Costa Not So Cheapo during high summer understands.
It is infuriating, it is not fair, but it is just how the ruthless economics of the holiday industry work.
It is understandably tempting to fudge a day here and there, but if every parent did what they wanted, school terms would be impossible to govern and the level of disruption for the children left behind would be an issue.
Schools are closed for 13 weeks of the year already.
Parents don’t have the right to take their children out of school whenever they please — it would be mayhem if they did.
Yes, it can be annoying, especially at a time when teachers have gone on strike, when schools close because of bad weather and parents have to make emergency childcare plans.
But parents are like pupils. If you buck the system and disobey the rules, you have to take the consequences.
Heaven knows where the Stockport One is going with this, but any school which enforces its truancy rules is not being obstructive or mean.
It has only the child’s best interests at heart. What a shame you can’t always say the same about the parents.
Hero to zero, part six. The wheels continue to come off Lady Gaga’s tour — not to mention her career. The singer vomited four times on stage in Barcelona last week — what on earth is going on Then she came to London to launch her celebrity perfume — a black mark for greedy fan exploitation. Worst of all, she visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Whatever next A tribute concert to raise funds for Justin Lee Collins
Something stinks to high heaven — not just her scent.
Could votes at 16 be on the way Teenagers can marry, choosing who they want to spend the rest of their lives with, but cannot chose whom to represent them It hardly seems fair. Put the marriage age back to 21 at the very least. Then we’ll start talking . . .
Two words. Udder cream. Yes, I’m late to
the beauty party as always, but this stuff is great. This week, my
sister introduced me to Udderly Smooth hand cream, a moisturiser
originally developed in America for use on dairy cows with — how can I
put this — chapped undercarriage lacto-issuing issues. I don’t wish to
discuss it any further, only to point out that it’s great hand cream.
And that my sis has asked me to stop demanding to borrow her udder cream
when in public.
Heston's sell-out leaves me Blumen' furious
Heston Blumenthal has just launched a new range of ready meals for Waitrose. This is so depressing, it’s almost put me off my Antony Worrall Thompson Cheese & Garlic Croutons (Tesco, 1.50).
Heston, as anyone will tell you — except maybe the wife he dumped to run off with an American food writer — is a very nice man.
He made his name as an innovative Michelin star chef, so brilliant that his reputation remained undented by the mass poisoning of Fat Duck customers who fell ill after eating his oysters.
Like any chef who is passionate about cooking, the second he got famous he couldn’t wait to do something else. Before you could say burp, he’d left his kitchens far behind and was devoured by supermarket giant Waitrose.
This week, the latest Heston products for Waitrose have been unveiled — a line of ready-made dishes, including a dish of oven-ready ‘carrots dressed with parsley and toasted caraway seeds with a garnish of caraway-flavoured butter’.
Priced at 2.69. Carrots!
Is it inevitable that all cooking superstars — Nigella, Marco, Heston, Gordon and his crummy chocolates — end up selling their souls along with their boil-in-the-bag, taste-free mass-market nut-crusted sole I think the answer has to be a herb-flecked yes.
Style can be such a hoot!
Is it time for the owl to throw in the towel Millions of shoppers are now completely owled out, confronted with a parliament of owls on every shelf in every shop.
Look around you. They’re everywhere! Marks & Spencer’s owl-print tea dress sold out in days, there are owl purses, skirts, cushions, tea towels, jumpers, handbags, purses, knitwear, notepaper, wallpaper, jewellery, cushions, tea-caddies, stickers. Too-whit, to why Stylists say that owls they are a Seventies throwback; a hipster motif that became popular with the economic trend for vintage and pre-loved items. Harry Potter had his part to play, too — fair enough.
But when owl egg-timers are on sale next to the owl boxer shorts and the Simon C.Owl T-shirts, surely it is time for an owl cull.
Celebrity dazzle still blinds us to the truth
Hush, hush, whisper who dares, Jimmy Savile is creeping up the stairs.
As this week unfolded, the extent of Savile’s depravity hit a new low. First it was the widespread abuse of underage girls in television studios, now we hear about the regular molestation of young patients in hospitals.
At Stoke Mandeville, medical staff told young girls recuperating after major operations to pretend to be asleep when the old pervert made his late-night rounds of the wards.
Jimmy Savile after being knighted in 1990
As the list of the abused gets longer and a pattern of cruelty emerges, it has become clear that many adults in positions of authority knew what was going on. The smoke of rumour is one thing. Eyewitness evidence of aberrant behaviour is something else. The terrible question is: why didn’t those who knew say or do something to stop him
There are many reasons, I suspect. Savile was crafty and cruel; a highly motivated abuser who chose his victims expertly and covered his tracks well. Also, it was the sexual politics of another age when — horribly — an older man’s interest in a young girl would not set off the shrieking klaxons it would today. And while many did their best to protect the youngsters in their care, Savile was still free to roam unchecked.
Yet what protected Jimmy Savile more than anything else was the Kryptonite shield of his celebrity. Being a star confers a kind of saintly glow on even the most debauched; their superstar aura shines so bright, the reflection is so dazzling that many cannot see beyond the stardust, or will not acknowledge the sordid truth. And sometimes the worship of celebrity eclipses everything, even common sense.
Look at Roman Polanski, still a darling of the arty elite who feel he should be excused his misdeeds with underage girls in the Seventies. Take Michael Jackson, a grown man who invited children to sleepovers and no one blinked an eye. (If he had lived in your street, he’d have been arrested years ago.) At the height of his fame, the rapacious Gary Glitter was unassailable, too.
Everything bad about Savile is so obvious. His unsurprised obfuscation when allegations were ever put to him if he was innocent, surely he should have been outraged.
In hindsight, everything bad about Savile is so obvious. His unsurprised obfuscation when allegations were ever put to him — if he was innocent, surely he should have been outraged. He had a flat in Stoke Mandeville hospital — isn’t that odd He had a key to Broadmoor prison — isn’t that terrifying Today, his creepiness shimmers with a frightening intensity. He was a wicked man who took advantage of the gullibility of good folk. I suspect his story will get worse before it gets better.
P.S. it is easy to understand why those who were molested by Savile are now coming forward to speak out. One understands how the domino effect of others gives courage, how there is comfort in a crowd.
I have less sympathy with celebrities such as Sandi Toksvig and Liz Kershaw, now loudly claiming long-ago molestations and abuse at the BBC. Hardly shrinking violets, they did nothing about it at the time and still do not name their tormentors. What’s the point