Higham mum’s eight-month wrangle over fine for taking daughter on holiday

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A Higham Ferrers mum who was fined for taking her daughter on holiday during school term-time has had the charge withdrawn after a series of admin errors.

Alison Raymond, 45, went on holiday with her daughter last May and was prepared to pay the £60 fine for taking her child out of school.

But when Northamptonshire County Council issued the fine the absence from school was incorrectly dated as August 2017.

Miss Raymond sent a letter of explanation to the council, giving the authority 21 days to correct the error, via signed delivery to make sure it was received.

She says a member of staff at the council signed for it upon receipt.

Then in November last year Miss Raymond received a court summons over the unpaid fine, which was still for the wrong date.

She says she then spent another two weeks trying to help the council sort out the error before, four days before she was due to appear in court, receiving an email from the county council inclusion department admitting their mistake.

It read “in our error” so Miss Raymond left the issue alone.

But at the end of December she was hand-delivered a £370 fine which included court fees and victim surcharges.

She contacted the council immediately but it took her all week to make progress with them.

On January 10 she was told she doesn’t have anything to pay, was then told she does, and won’t find out until March if she has a county court judgement on her file.

Miss Raymond said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare.

“It’s the lack of communication that’s wound me up the most.

“I’ve had to do all the chasing and send all the emails.”

When we contacted the county council, a spokesman told us: “We apologise for any distress caused through this matter.

“This fine for a term-time absence has been withdrawn due to an error with dates on the initial paperwork.

“We alerted Her Majesty’s court service to this but an admin error meant that the parent has received further correspondence.

“We have since been back in contact with the mum to confirm that no action will be taken.”