A mother has been threatened with a hefty fine and possible jail time after refusing to send her children to school because she is clinically vulnerable and ‘terrified of the virus’. 

Katy Simpson, 29, has type 1 diabetes, asthma and an under-active thyroid and has barely left the house since lockdown was first introduced in March. Because coronavirus would be so dangerous for her she has kept her two children, Damien and Alisha, both six, home from Galileo Academy Trust in North Yorkshire. 

But an education welfare officer visited Katy and handed her a court warning threatening a £2,500 fine and up to three months in prison if she does not return Damien and Alisha to school.



Unemployed Katy, from Redcar, North Yorkshire, said: ‘There’s no two ways about it, if I get that virus I will die.

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‘I’m a single mum and don’t have my family around to help out with the kids. I can’t take that risk.

‘When there’s cold or a flu about I always get it and I’m knocked for six.

‘The virus has killed thousands of people and we’re all getting locked down again and it looks like it’s going to get worse.

‘I’ve tried to explain to them but they just won’t listen.’

Under The Education Act 1996, parents can be found to be breaking the law if their child fails to regularly attend school and there is no ‘reasonable justification’.

The letter from the officer who represents the school said: ‘Missing school damages a pupil’s opportunity to achieve a good education. It reduces future life prospects, disrupts school routines and the learning of others.

‘It can leave a pupil and the community vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and youth crime.

‘I am particularly concerned that despite knowing the seriousness of the situation, you have (not only) failed to secure the regular attendance of your child in school (but you have also failed to attend meetings or engage with the assistance that has been offered to you).

‘In light of this, I have no option but to begin prosecution procedures for the more serious offence under the Education Act 1996 contrary to Section 444 (1A).

‘This offence means the courts, if they find you guilty, can fine you up to £2,500 and impose a prison sentence of up to three months.’

Despite this written warning Katy said she has no plans to return her son and daughter to school and does not know if she will be able to go to court because she is so scared. 

The single mother said: ‘They tried to set up meetings for me to attend but it’s like it’s falling on deaf ears. I’m petrified of getting the virus, so I can’t leave the house.



‘Even if other people took them to school, the amount of people they would be coming into contact with wouldn’t be safe. Damien has asthma too, so it’s not all about me.

‘The Education Welfare Officer ended up standing on my doorstep to have the meeting, but it didn’t go very far.

‘Now they are threatening me with going to court. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go as I’m just too scared.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted Galileo Academy Trust for comment.

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