A COUPLE have been fined £120 for taking their son out of school to go on holiday with his terminally-ill grandad.

Trevor and Joanne Cannon asked Basildon Lower Academy for permission to take Alfie, 13, away for two weeks at the end of the summer term to go to Malta with his grandad, George Mills.

The school allegedly said it was not a good enough reason, but the couple decided to go anyway as Mr Cannon is given allocated holiday dates and cannot change them.

The bus driver, of The Sycamores, Basildon, said: “My father-in-law is terminally ill and we wanted to go to Malta as he loves it out there and we wanted to have a family holiday with him.

“I’ve been fined and, fair enough, I’ll pay the fine, that doesn’t bother me, it is the principle.

“They sent us a letter saying it is not a good enough reason, but what is a good reason?

“I was told by someone if he was to die they would have allowed it, but if he had died we would not be going on a family holiday.

“Alfie is quite close to his nan and grandad.

“They spoil him rotten and he is always doing something with them and it might have been his last holiday with his grandad.

“I don’t think it is very fair.

“It was all booked up and we were not going to lose all the money, sowe decided to go and face the consequences afterwards. We got home and now Alfie’s grandad is quite poorly.”

Mr and Mrs Cannon received two letters charging them £60 each last week.

No one from the school was available to comment.

A Department for Education spokesman said the decision about whether a casemeets the exceptional circumstances requirement is taken by the headteacher.

He would not comment on whether this case should have met that criteria.