A BASINGSTOKE school has made a U-turn on its decision to fine a parent £60 for taking her daughter out of school to attend a family wedding.

As reported in The Gazette, Sara Ritchie was angry after Hatch Warren Infant School warned her she would be given the fixed penalty notice if she took her six-year-old daughter Grace out of school for the afternoon on May 18, to attend her step-aunt’s wedding.

The school said no Year 2s could take time off during May because of the SATs tests.

But following a high court ruling last week, which concluded that parents would not break the law if their child’s attendance over the rest of the academic year was ‘regular’, the school has changed its mind on its decision.

Miss Ritchie, a mother-of-three from Brighton Hill, said she had lost faith in the school after it failed to apply common sense.

She added: “We tried working with them but they wouldn’t compromise. We said we would pick her up later, and their dad’s girlfriend said she would dress them and do their hair in the car.

“I think maybe The Gazette helped make them realise how stupid they were being.”

The mum said she has never taken her children out of school for holidays, and said Grace had excellent attendance, missing just two days of school because of sickness during this academic year.

Sue Hurdle, deputy headteacher at Hatch Warren Infant School, said: “I am unable to comment on individual cases. School policy has not changed following the case last week and it will only be amended if directed by Hampshire County Council.”

However, Councillor Peter Edgar, the education chief at HCC, said it did not “explicitly advise the school that they could not authorise absence in May because of Key Stage 1 SATs”.

He added: “We understand the school warned parents that they would not authorise leave during May because the KS1 SATs tests were to be taken sporadically in small groups of children over the whole month in order to keep the testing as informal as possible. For this reason, the school was unable to confirm in advance the dates on which children would sit the tests.

“Following the recent High Court case we are awaiting receipt of the written judgement and any further guidance from the DfE. We will respond if there are any subsequent changes in school attendance law.”