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Wales Online
Wales Online
Neil Shaw

Dad who was fined for term-time holiday sends a fine to teachers for striking

An angry dad has “fined” his kids’ teachers for going on strike after he was hit with a £360 penalty for taking a family holiday in term-time. Wesley Joyce, 42, was fined when he took his son Jai-Jai, 15, and daughters Cleo, 13, and Hallie, five, to Turkey.

He and wife Stacey, 34, treated the family to a ten-day all-inclusive break last month during the school term. The holiday cost £7,000 but Wesley says the same trip would have cost up to £12,000 in the school holidays.

When the family returned home, Wesley and Stacey received a letter stating they faced a £360 fine. Wesley responded by posting a letter 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, said: "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.

“You want me to pay over £700 because I took my kid's out of school, but when they got back there were one training day and then two strike days the week after. Surely they have to think about how it affects the children’s education.

“Teachers are supposed to be bright and brainy, but it doesn't look that way right now. Where does it go, they’re charging me £720 whilst they go on strike, so I can’t work. It's a vicious circle."

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.

"Supply teachers don’t do anything, we all know.”

Wesley said he approached his children's schools - Tudor Grange Primary Academy Perdiswell where and 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.

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