Morecambe motorbike star says school fine is a ‘joke’

John McGuinness.
John McGuinness.

Motorcycle ace John McGuinness has been fined again for taking his daughter out of school.

‘The Morecambe Missile’ tweeted a copy of the fine from Lancashire County Council saying “Oh dear! That’s another fine for me & @becky1975em for being such bad parents! #disappointed #badsystem #joke.”

John McGuinness tweets about being fined for taking his daughter out of school.

John McGuinness tweets about being fined for taking his daughter out of school.

The £120 fine was for his six-year-old daughter Maisie missing school between April 4 and April 8 after the McGuinness family - John, his wife Rebecca, son Ewan and Maisie – went to France where John was competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours for Motorcycles race meeting. They also visited Eurodisney.

A few days after his tweet, John said: “I understand it when people say you shouldn’t take your daughter out of school, I get that.

“But where do we leave them? Do I go to the TT races and say to my six-year-old daughter ‘here’s the key to the house?’

“There isn’t anybody I can leave them with.

“My daughter blows me away with what she can do and how she behaves. She conducts herself properly for a child. I don’t think we’re doing a bad job as parents.”

In June 2015, the motorbike legend - who is second on the all-time list of Isle of Man TT race wins – received a £120 fine when Maisie missed school so he could take his family to watch him race at the annual showpiece event.

This year’s TT races run from May 28 to June 10 and once again, John says he intends to have his family with him.

“The school headmaster has his job to do and I have mine,” he said.

“I’ll take the fine on the chin. Those are the rules and I can’t do anything about them, but I’m not going (racing) in the Isle of Man without my family.

“This year the TT has fallen a week later. One of the days is a teacher training day. So it’s perfectly OK for that? It’s moving the goalposts.”

John Ross, headteacher at Great Wood primary school, said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on individual cases.

“However, in line with government guidelines, we are only able to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances, taking each request on its merits.

“We have very high expectations of our pupils, which includes their attendance, and endeavour to work with all parents to ensure those expectations are met.”

Earlier this month, Isle of Wight dad Jon Platt, who was fined £120 for taking his daughter on holiday during term time, made national headlines after the punishment was overturned by the High Court.

Magistrates ruled that Mr Platt had no case to answer as his daughter had attended school regularly overall. Her attendance was above the national threshold of 90%.

The government said afterwards it would consider changing the law and “strengthen statutory guidance to schools and local authorities”.

Around 64,000 fines were imposed for unauthorised school absences between September 2013 and August 2014.