A MOTHER has been fined almost £700 after her daughter missed six days of school through illness.

Gemma McGee was fined £10 per day after 15-year-old Kacey Jackson was absent from Basildon Academies on six occasions between September and March.

After failing to pay the charges Essex County Council appointed a debt management company to collect the cash.

Ms McGe said: “I can’t appeal the case as they took it to bailiffs and they are threatening to remove my stuff.

“They wanted £210 straight up payment then £70 something a week. They want it all paid within seven weeks. 

“If I break the arrangement, they will send out bailiffs. I told them the payments will see us really struggle but they didn’t want to know.

“If I don’t pay up, my costs will go up even more. Kacey’s attendance isn’t bad, which is why I refused to pay.

“She was off school with bugs and I didn’t think I needed to get a doctor’s note for that.”

The fine means Ms McGee can no longer afford to pay for her daughter to go on a school trip to Belgium.

She said: “Kacey feels really bad - she feels she has to go to school when she’s ill now.”

Kelly Bush, of Dunton Wayletts, is another parent who has been fined after 12-year-old daughter Melissa missed six days through illness.

She said: “It’s ridiculous, I’ve never known anything like it – she’s at school, not at work.

“The doctor was based over in Pitsea so I wasn’t going to drag Melissa all the way over there when she was unwell.

“It should be down to me to decide if my daughter is too ill to go to school.”

Headteacher Gary Smith said: “The academy ensures all matters relating to attendance are dealt with equitably following the Local Authority Code of Conduct. 

Councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education at Essex County Council, added: “Parents have a legal duty to ensure regular school attendance for their children who are registered at a school and need to abide by the school’s rules on absences, including providing doctor’s notes.”