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Saturday, June 25, 2016
Boy, 12, kicked out of school for visiting dying grandad with his heartbroken family
A young boy has lost his place at his secondary school - for visiting his dying grandad.
Josh Palfrey was kicked out of Barr Beacon School in Walsall for travelling to Alaska to carry out his grandfather’s final wish, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Arthur Palfrey, aged 83, had said he wanted his family around him when he slipped away.
Last night Josh made a plea to be allowed back into school, where he says he has lots of friends.
He said: “Please allow me to come back to school. I only left to visit my dying granddad in Alaska.”
Senior staff, however, are standing firm.
They say that Josh’s father was warned of the official policy and the repercussions of snubbing those rules.
Scott, a single parent, admits the consequences of removing his son for eights weeks were fully explained.
In the end Josh only missed six, as the first fortnight was covered by holidays.
But last night the 52-year-old Volkswagen worker accused the school of lacking compassion.
He and Josh flew out on March 26. For the first four weeks, Arthur - a former Birmingham bobby - was fine and talked to his grandson about his life.
“That was magical,” said Scott. “It was priceless. Those were very touching moments.
"He told Josh about his time in the navy and the Korean War and his police days. He wasn’t there when Josh was growing up, so it was important my son knew about his life.”
Arthur, from Winson Green in Birmingham, moved to America in 1989 after making Stateside friends through his involvement in a barbers’ shop choir.
Suffering from cancer, Arthur died on May 17
“He was in a reclining chair,” said Scott. “I was holding his hand when he took his last breath.”
Scott is urging the school to reconsider.
“I understand it is not ideal to take your child out of school for this amount of time, but this was an exceptional circumstance,” he said.
“This was hardly a quick flight to Spain or a holiday to Disney World.
“It’s the other side of the world and we did not know how long my dad had left.
“This was my father’s dying wish and to see my son sitting with his grandfather and learning about his life was just priceless.
“I was warned that Josh would lose his place at the school if we did not return by a certain date, but I made the decision to go any way.
“This was an extremely emotional time for the family and I felt this was the right decision.
“I am just furious that it has come to this. My son is now very upset as he loves the school and has friends there.”
He added: “He lives two minutes from the school, he is doing well. In my mind, he’s a star pupil. Teachers have told me they wished they had more like him.”
In a statement, Barr Beacon School said: “Barr Beacon School is highly over-subscribed. There were over 1,019 preferences for our 252 places in Year 7 for September, 2016.
“Year 8 is over-capacity with 270 children. We have class sizes of 33. We are receiving requests for places on a near daily basis and as soon as a child leaves we have further requests for that place.
“We have nearly 500 children on our waiting lists for all years, all lovely children with caring parents who want the best for their child.
“When a child leaves we do not re-admit them or fill their place with another child as the school is so very full. We operate a fair and transparent admissions policy which follows the very clear laws which govern schools.
“Being a large school, we regularly have parents informing us that they are visiting terminally ill family members around the world, attending funerals across the globe and travelling to weddings in various countries.
“Each one of these situations could be deemed a special, extenuating circumstance. We appreciate that every family’s situation is special to them.
“As a school, we understand the pressures on parents and we send condolences on the loss of loved ones and our best wishes on their family weddings, but we cannot keep places open for children while they are out of the country for more than 20 school days.
“It is not fair on the other children whose parents want them to attend an outstanding school.
"Mr Palfrey understood clearly what would happen and the school spent a long time explaining the consequence of his decision to remove his son from the school before he removed his son from school.”