A COUPLE who were fined for taking their daughter on holiday during school term-time face a prolonged ordeal after the court hearing was adjourned.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Nikki Hotston had to reschedule a family holiday to Tunisia planned for last August following the terrorist attack on June 26.

The mother-of-two was given alternative options during the school holidays, but these were all long-haul flights which she did not feel were appropriate for her three-year-old son Riley who has special needs.

So instead she chose a cruise break starting on September 2, meaning her seven-year-old daughter Grace Hill would miss two weeks of school.

The 24-year-old from South Ham said Castle Hill Infant School, in Winklebury, gave her verbal permission for the absence, before rejecting the holiday request whilst the family were away.

Mrs Hotston and her husband Steve were fined for the absence, but were summoned to court by Hampshire County Council because it was paid too late.

The couple attended the hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court last Thursday but were told it would be adjourned because of the High Court ruling earlier this month, which saw a father win a case against Isle of Wight Council after it fined him £120 for taking his daughter on an unauthorised holiday during term-time.

Mrs Hotston said: “They are looking at the reasons why that case did win and go through our case and see my evidence and see if any of it is the same.

“I’m feeling hopeful. Grace has got good attendance and the High Court said that if a child has good attendance then they can go on holiday.

“Grace has better attendance than the case at the High Court.”

The family will now have to wait until June 23 for the matter to be resolved.

Cllr Peter Edgar, executive member for education at Hampshire County Council, said: “I am unable to comment in any detail on this particular case other than to say that authorisation for absence in exceptional circumstances is at the discretion of the headteacher.

“In order to ensure a consistent and equitable approach to unauthorised absences, we do have a code of conduct to assist headteachers in determining whether or not to permit an authorised absence request.

“Clearly, what is most important is that children attend school regularly.”