A dad has branded striking teachers as pathetic and sent them a fine as payback for the £360 bill he was slapped with after taking his three children on a term-time holiday in the sun.
Wesley Joyce enjoyed a £7,000-all-inclusive trip to Turkey last month, taking son Jai-Jai, 15, and daughters Cleo, 13, and Hallie, five, out of school. Along with wife Stacey, 34, the whole family went on the 10-day break, which Wesley, 42, says would have cost another £5,000 if they had gone in the school holidays.
They returned home to a letter stating they faced a £360 fine. And now teachers at his children's schools continue strike action meaning youngsters have been forced to stay at home and miss lessons.
Wesley decided to respond to his fine letter by posting letters to his children’s two schools, demanding that striking teachers should be charged for refusing to work. In the letter to teachers he said he wasn't able to "grant you the ability to strike" and their absence will be "noted as pathetic".
Wesley, a builder, told Coventry Live: "The holiday came to £7,000 with seven people all inclusive. If I went in the summer holidays it was £12,000 that’s a difference of £5,000. We just couldn’t afford that and why should we? The memories of a family holiday will live with them forever.
"We left on the 8th of June, came back on the 22nd of June and there was a letter on the doorstep. About a month before, just as they had their 13th day of strike action assuming it wouldn’t be an issue as they've done it. It's beyond belief. Does it matter what day you’re studying? It doesn’t matter in the summer holidays. My son went to school last week and the teachers were on strike, he just watched a film all day.
“How’s that helping him? Jai-jai has done really well this year but now he’s got ten absent days. It baffles me how they need all that time. It's not about how much they get paid or not. It wasn’t just me, I had one and my wife had a letter each. They fined us £60 each, rising to £120. It was just embarrassing to read from the school's point of view."
Wesley claims teachers knew what to expect when they first applied for their jobs and that the strikes are unnecessary. The dad, who once donated a kidney to a stranger suffering from cystic fibrosis, added: "I know children who haven’t been fined who have left and gone on holiday.
"They're in the position of who are you to fine us. You can’t fine us. Teachers know the conditions and pay scale, so why do they strike? “If you don’t like the job, go find somewhere else. I had an email from the school yesterday regarding Jai-Jai. I told them my son is not getting educated.”
Wesley said he approached his children's schools - Tudor Grange Primary Academy Perdiswell where Cleo and Hallie attend and Christopher Whitehead Language College where Jai-Jai attends - asking permission for an authorised absence but his request was refused.
Neil Morris, headteacher of Christopher Whitehead Language College, said: "Mr Joyce may be fined for taking his child out for 10 days. The child will have crucial exams in 32 weeks."
Tudor Grange Primary Academy Perdiswell refused to comment.