Supreme Court to decide on fine imposed on parent for taking child on holiday during term time

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The Supreme Court will decide on whether the local education authority in the Isle of Wight was correct to impose a fine on a parent who took his child out of school during term time to take her on a holiday in possible contravention of school rules. The case will turn on what is meant by “regular” attendance at school.

Jon Platt has challenged a decision by the authority to fine him £120 for taking his daughter on a family holiday to Florida during term time. He said that as his daughter had a 94 per cent attendance record, the decision to take her out of school for a few days was his decision as a parent to take. He refused to pay the fine.

At a first hearing, the magistrates’ court found in favour of the father. The council appealed to the High Court, which rejected the appeal. The council has now appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear the case this week.

The council has argued the case raises important issues for schools and families up and down the country. “Our position remains that children should not be taken out of school without good reason. That is why we have tightened the rules and are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence.

“The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances, vindicating our strong stance on attendance.”

Education Law Barrister - myBarrister