A couple who were fined for taking their boy out of school for his grandmum's funeral say they are being penalised for her death.

Carol Follows and her husband David have both received £120 fines for their nine-year-old son's 'unauthorised absence' from St Matthew's CE Academy, in Stoke-on-Trent.

The parents claim they told the school they had to take Logan away for 12 days for the funeral in South Africa, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.

Carol, 49, said she was told the absence would be deemed unauthorised after five days away from school.

The couple's fines will be halved to £60 if paid by September 6.

A failure to pay the fixed-penalty charge can lead to a court fine of up to £1,000.

Carol said: “Logan has never exceeded absence levels and is above average on his school reports, so I don’t understand why we are being penalised for my mum dying.

“This letter has been sent in the school summer holidays. The school goes back on September 3 which only gives me three days to challenge the fine before it doubles. It’s just not acceptable.

St Matthew's CE Academy, in Stoke-on-Trent, was unavailable for comment

“If I had just gone on holiday then I would have paid the fine, but I was taking my son to bury his grandmother - I couldn’t just leave him at home. It just doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth.”

The penalty was issued on August 14 and the family can challenge it with headteacher Jennifer Mountford.

But the school does not return for the 2019/20 academic year until September 3.

Carol added: “We advised the school on Monday, June 17 that we may have to leave because my mother was not well. She passed away that afternoon quite unexpectedly.

“I told the school we would have to leave on Thursday, June 20 and we wouldn't be able to return until Monday, July 8 - which would give us two weeks to arrange the funeral and sort out her estate.

“We followed the correct protocol and sent a letter. The school said we could have five days of authorised absence, but the rest would be unauthorised. It was obviously going to take us longer than five days to sort out the estate.”

Logan actually returned to school on Friday, July 5.

Logan's mum said the whole experience had not left a good taste in her mouth

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Carol moved to Stoke-on-Trent from South Africa 19 years ago.

The school was unavailable for comment and the council has declined to comment.

The penalty charge notice states: "This notice may be withdrawn by the education welfare team or the headteacher if it is shown that it should not have been issued to you or it has not been issued to you in accordance with the local code of conduct.

"If you believe the notice was wrongly issued you must contact the school, in the first instance, to ask for it to be withdrawn as soon as possible, stating why you believe the notice has been incorrectly issued.

"The school will consider your request and will contact you to let you know whether the notice is withdrawn.

"If the notice is not withdrawn and you do not pay, you will be liable to prosecution for the offence that your child has failed to attend school regularly."