Parents call out Derbyshire school for not authorising term time holiday for disabled daughter

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The parents of an 11-year-year with multiple disabilities say her school should authorise her holiday during term time.

Phil and Rebecca Robinson’s daughter, Angelica, was born in 2013 and had to be ventilated from birth.

After doctors removed her ventilator to see how she would cope on her own she then had three cardiac arrests.

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Doctors told the couple their little girl, who has Myotonic muscular dystrophy, a club foot and curvature of the spine, would not live past the age of one.

Phil and Rebecca Robinson with daughter Angelica 11. Photo Jason ChadwickPhil and Rebecca Robinson with daughter Angelica 11. Photo Jason Chadwick
Phil and Rebecca Robinson with daughter Angelica 11. Photo Jason Chadwick

Angelica has defied the odds and now attends Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary School.

Phil said: “We wanted to take Angelica out of school during term time because taking her in the holidays when there are more people around makes for a more stressful environment for everyone.

“We know Angelica looks different but children stare and can be unkind and we want to protect her from that.

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“Also when we go to the bathroom we have to change her on the floor because she is now too big for the changing tables in the toilets and Haven don’t have adult changing facilities so a term time holiday means less people which means we can change her in a cleaner space.”

Angelica suffers from global development delay which has major impacts on her learning and even though she is in year 5 in primary school, soon to be year 6 her learning level is that of a year 1.

Also because of her breathing problems she is ventilated during the night as well.

She has speech difficulties and communicates at a much younger level.

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The youngster also has a gastronomy peg in situ as she was unable to swallow when she was young and still continues to use this as an additional way of feeding approximately three times a day.

Phil said: “We have in the past just gone on holiday and paid the fines but this year we had our daughter’s paediatrician write a letter to school in support of term time holiday for our family we also had support from MP Robert Largan in support of our family's holiday but the holiday has not been authorised by the school.

“She has had a lot of appointments and hospital visits and then she also has had time off for illnesses so I know her attendance is not brilliant but she is still here and we want to give her the best quality of life we can.

“I just think it’s wrong that the school isn't taking into account our special circumstances and Angelica’s special requirements and approving the holiday because when we go it will go down as an another unauthorised absence.”

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The headteacher at Chapel en le Frith CE VC Primary School Jacquie Barber said: “We’re unable to comment on individual cases however we want every child to do the best they can.

“That’s why we strongly recommend that holidays aren’t taken during term time because even missing a small amount of school can affect achievement.

“We rigorously follow the DFE statutory guidance on school attendance.”

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