Family Butchers Facing Prosecution For Taking Children Out of School to Avoid Closure During Busy Christmas Season

A couple who run a butchers shop in Lancashire are being prosecuted by their local authority for taking their 10 year-old daughter out of school in the run-up to Christmas last year. They were concerned that if they left her and their other daughter, aged 14, in school there was a risk they would be sent home to self-isolate and they, in turn, would be ‘pinged’, forcing them to close their shop during their busiest time of year. Ryan and Faye Moffat have explained what this would have meant:

A business closure at that time of year (the run up to Xmas) would have been financially devastating for our business and family. In addition to the loss of sales profit (which helps to sustain our business during the quieter times of year), we were carrying an exceptionally large volume of perishable stock which was at risk of write-off. Also, failure to fulfil Xmas orders could have had a long-term impact on business goodwill, potentially resulting in a complete business failure.

Failure to pay our mortgage could have resulted in the loss of both our business premises and living accommodation.

The school of their 14 year-old daughter had no objection to her being taken out and home schooled for the last 13 days of term, but their 10 year-old daughter’s school refused permission. Quite extraordinary, given that the school had no compunction about sending children home from March to September. Why was it okay for children to be home schooled for half the year – completely pointlessly, I might add – but not for 13 days to save a family business? Had the Moffats told the school their daughter had Covid symptoms, the school would have instructed them to keep her at home. But they told the truth.

Very sensibly, the Moffats decided to take their 10 year-old out of school anyway – and now they’re being prosecuted by the local education authority. It beggars belief that ratepayers’ money is being spent on this vexatious case.

When the Moffats contacted me, they were planning to represent themselves in court because they couldn’t afford a lawyer. I put them in touch with an experienced criminal solicitor and urged them to start a fundraiser to pay the legal fees, estimated to be £3,000. I’m happy to say they’ve now done this. Please do make a donation so Ryan and Faye are able to fight their corner. You can find the fundraiser here.

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