Supreme court grants legal appeal to council over father who took his daughter on holiday in term-time

Supreme Court justices have granted a council permission to bring a last-ditch appeal over the case of a father who successfully challenged a conviction for taking his daughter on an unauthorised holiday during school term time.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 6:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:08 pm
Jon Platt, who is fighting the Isle of Wight Council over a conviction for taking his daughter out of school for a holiday

Jon Platt was originally fined £120 for taking his daughter to Florida, but magistrates ruled he had no case to answer because she attended school regularly during the rest of the school year.

Isle of Wight Council, as the local education authority, took the case to London’s High Court but senior judges backed the magistrates’ ruling in favour of the father.

The council submitted papers to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, for permission to launch a final legal challenge, because the case raises important issues for schools and families up and down the country.

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Today a panel of three justices who reviewed the case decided a hearing should go ahead. There are plans for it to take place early next year.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said the department would now work with the council ‘to consider the next steps’.

The spokeswoman said: ‘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.

‘A child who is absent also impacts teachers, whose planning of lessons is disrupted by children missing large portions of teaching.’