Morecambe mum slams disabled daughter's school hols ban

A specialist school has refused to allow a severely disabled girl to go on a family holiday during term time.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 4:46 pm
Paige with her eldest sister Lara.

The Morecambe mother of six-year-old Paige Scorey, who says she only goes to school to play, has been told she will be issued with a £60 fine if she takes Paige on holiday.

However Clare Scroggy, from Westgate, is ignoring the ruling and taking Paige and her eldest daughter Lara, 14, on the one-week break to Lanzarote.

The 38-year-old mum-of-two said she will pay the fine as she and “many others” cannot afford to appeal the ruling like Isle of Wight dad Jon Platt did successfully at the High Court this month.

Paige, who has Cri du Chat Syndrome, which means she has a mental age of one, attends The Loyne Specialist School, in Lancaster, which looks after pupils aged two to 19 with a range of learning 

Clare said: “The school know her needs and they know her learning is all play, I just assumed they would say yes but they said they had no option but to forward it across to the council to issue a fine.

“I was so mad when I got the warning letter.”

Paige was diagnosed with the rare disorder when she was just three weeks old. The syndrome can affect one in 50,000 children.

Clare said: “Paige will never ever talk or walk. She crawls around. I know she is never going to leave home. She is 100 per cent reliant on me.

“So it is really disappointing that a school who you would think would understand and probably encourage families who have a tough time bringing up a disabled child, would not allow this.”

Clare believes the system is wrong as she explains her eldest daughter Lara, who attends Morecambe High School, has been allowed to go on the holiday.

She said: “It will affect Lara’s schooling more yet she is coming, it doesn’t make sense.”

Paige also suffers with scoliosis, an abnormal twisting and sideways curvature of the spine.

She will undergo an operation at Alder Hey Hospital in September to realign her arched spine.

Clare, a claims team manager at AXA Insurance, said the school are aware of this operation.

She said: “You would think they would take this into consideration, our family time is so important.

“This is a one-off this year, some people take their children on holiday three times a year.”

Clare is eager to go on holiday this week as Paige does not cope well in hot weather.

During the Easter break last year the family went away to Egypt and Paige was allowed to miss three days of school.

Clare says she “has no choice” but to accept the fine.

She said: “I’m not in a situation to fight, Jon Platt spent lots fighting it, people like me can’t.”

Jon Platt refused to pay a fine after taking his daughter out of school for a family trip to Florida.

Mr Platt won the appeal at the High Court and it reportedly cost him more than £13,000.

In June 2015, Morecambe motorcycle ace John McGuinness was fined £120 for taking his five-year-old daughter on holiday during term time to watch him race at the TTs.

The Government say children can only be taken out of school if there are exceptional circumstances.

Clare said: “We will go on holiday, if I have to pay the fine I will, although I don’t think it is fair.

“I’m not saying all disabled children should be treated differently but there should be some common sense and discretion.”

Susan Campbell, head teacher of The Loyne, said: “We have very high expectations of our pupils, including around their attendance.”

County coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “If children miss out on school they miss out on learning.”