The courage of John Platt

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
It wa to Disneyworld that Mr Platt took his two daughters and thirteen other members of his family

It wa to Disneyworld that Mr Platt took his two daughters and thirteen other members of his family

Mr Platt took his two daughters out of school in term time after having been refused permission by one of his daughter’s head teacher. He was fined £120. Take me to court he told the Isle of Wight council. They did and lost.

The ruling by magistrates to throw out the case is one which all parents, all head teachers, all councils and the Department of Education will study.

Mr Platt’s argument is that under section 444 of the Education Act, his duty is to see that his daughter attends regularly. The clause says,

“If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.” Mr Platt argued that his daughter did attend regularly, in fact her attendance percentage was 93.8% for the previous academic year. As doesn’t define “regularly” it can be debated whether a 90% attendance or 80% or 70% is acceptable. Greater than 90% suggests that Mr Platt’s daughter does attend very much most of the time.

The Department of Education was still quoted by the BBC as saying that “…it is a myth that missing school even for a short time is harmless to a child’s education.” If they really believed that they would hold Baker Days during half term and holidays instead of giving students additional days off. If they believed that they would always have cover when teachers are ill and if they believed that they wouldn’t allow trips at the end of term which do little to enhance the learning of students and which seem to exist only to occupy time!

But is this the end of the story. I haven’t been able to find out if the council can appeal this ruling to a higher court. It would be better if they and the Department of Education gave in gracefully and accepted that if a child does attend school regularly, a holiday break will not bring the child’s education ability and talent crashing to earth.

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