A parent who was annoyed about facing a fine if he took his child out of school in term time wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter demanding a £60 fine for the disruption caused by teachers’ industrial action. Now he’s a cyber celebrity!
Parent Ross Matheson wrote to the headteacher of Minster Church of England Primary School near Ramsgate in Kent, following news that the school would be closed by teachers taking strike action:
“Thank you for your recent letter informing me of the penalty of £60 if my child is taken out of school during term time and the impact this has on pupil’s attainment. As you have informed me that my child is unable to attend school on October 17 due to teachers being away from school, I have to take measures to also issue you a penalty of £60. If this is not paid within 21 days of the date of this letter, the penalty will increase to £120.”
Wanting to share the joke letter with friends, Mr. Matheson pasted it Facebook, the Telegraph reports, and it was soon copied by other parents. Since then it has gone viral on sites including Netmums, and even received coverage in a leading American news site.
Wendy Stone, the school’s headteacher, invited the irate parent to come and speak to her: “I really encourage everybody – parents, staff, governors and the children themselves – to work together for the benefit of children,” she said, “We are always very keen to hear from the parents of the school, and we actively encourage face-to-face contacts.”
Mr. Matheson didn’t respond to her invitation, but did reveal the real target of his letter: “I’m not really interested in getting involved in the politics behind the strikes and the reasons for them – my point was more around how the school, or local authority, sets rules and puts policies in place but then the teachers proceed to do the opposite.”
In your experience, is this parent’s opposition to strike action shared by other parents, or are they broadly sympathetic?