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Term time holidays to be considered by the high court

The High Court will decide what is meant by the requirement of parents to ensure their children attend school “regularly”.  Any parent failing to do this is guilty of an offence under the Education Act 1996 and may be prosecuted by the local authority. 

The issue has come under the spotlight after parent, Jon Platt, was prosecuted by Isle of Wight Council after taking his six-year-old daughter on a family holiday to Florida, causing her to be absent from school for seven consecutive school days.  He successfully argued that section 444 of the Education Act 1996 does not place restrictions on term-time holidays when the attendance of the child is otherwise regular. He claimed that his daughter’s attendance rate was over 90%.  

The Magistrate’s Court dismissed the council’s case, finding that there was ‘no case to answer’. The council however have appealed to the High Court for clarification on whether being absent for seven consecutive days without authorisation is an offence under section 444. They firmly believe that it is an offence whilst Mr Platt regards the appeal as “nonsense”. 
Commenting on the case, our education solicitor, Angela Sandhal, said: “I’ve seen many cases of parents in precisely the same predicament as Mr Platt and have no doubt that the High Court’s analysis will provide welcome clarification for parents, schools and local authorities up and down the country.”

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