A six-year-old girl chosen to take part in Cadbury’s new Christmas TV advert has been left heartbroken after her school refused to give her a day off for filming.
Budding actress Ruby Lancaster has been going to acting classes since the age of four and was delighted when the chocolate giant picked her.
She had sent them her own little video and was chosen as one of a handful of kids to take part in filming for Cadbury’s new festive campaign.
Ruby was invited to join the filming on Wednesday in picturesque Cockington, the Devon village near her Torquay home.
But the youngster was denied a day off from Preston Primary School because she has an 85 per cent attendance record and they said it had to be at least 90 per cent.
Ruby’s dad Joe said the school even refused when he suggested she just took half a day off.
The school insisted they were following government advice ‘which states that a leave of absence should only be granted in exceptional circumstances’.
Joe said: “Ruby was so happy when she was selected for the Cadbury’s Christmas campaign.
“She need permission from her school to take part, but they wouldn’t give it to her because her attendance is 85 per cent.
“It wouldn’t have made a massive impact on her school work for just half a day, but it would have been a huge opportunity for her to be able to take part.
“It has had a massive impact on our family. We are all heartbroken for her. I just don’t understand.”
He added: “Ruby has been going to Stagecoach Performing Arts School since she was four, and she absolutely loves it.
“It was through them that we found out about the advert. She sent of a video submission and was chosen as one of a handful of children to take part.
“She was so excited and I had to tell her no. We even suggested taking her out for just half the day, but the school still refused.”
Mum Chloe Gibson added: “Ruby is heartbroken, absolutely devastated she was trying on the way to school this morning. It is awful sending your child to school in tears.
“The way the school have gone about it is awful, it is not her fault. She has been off on odd days for sickness, but she can’t help that.
“I feel so sorry for her. Her attendance in 85 per cent and they like it to be 90 per cent. I feel like the school has stomped all over her dream.
“Just because this is an activity that is taking place outside the classroom, it is still educational.
“It is a great opportunity for her, and would have a positive impact on her future.
“I feel like the school could have made an exception this once. Joe and I would have been more than happy to go in for a meeting to talk about getting her attendance back up.”Ruby currently has an attendance record of 85 per cent, and Preston Primary School said previous attendance ‘is always a major factor in considering whether to authorise an absence from school’.
A school spokesman said: “Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly.
“Regular attendance is essential to ensure uninterrupted progress and to enable children to extend their potential.
“Poor attendance can seriously affect a child’s attainment in school, relationships with other children and confidence to attempt new work and work alongside others.
“We follow government advice which states that a leave of absence should only be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and context behind the request.
“Previous attendance, particularly where this has been poor, is always a major factor in considering whether to authorise an absence from school.”