Be fined if you take your child out of school in term time

By | Category: Travel news

Back to school says the Supreme Court and don’t holiday in term time.

The judgement of the Supreme Court this morning is that taking your child out of school in term time without permission is illegal and that when Jon Platt took his daughter on holiday to Florida he was liable to a fine.

This ends the legal path for Platt and means that many councils, which have been reluctant to issue fines whilst the court case outcome was awaited, will probably go ahead and issue those fines.

For parents there is now some clarity. Remove your child from school in term time without the school’s permission and suffer the consequences.

For the court, Lady Hale said, “Unauthorised absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the education of the individual child, but also on the work of other pupils, and of their teachers,” Mr Platt’s argument that his daughter had maintained good grades and had a high overall level of attendance seems not to have been considered a strong enough argument by the court.

The head of the school would now seem to be the final arbiter of whether a child can be removed in school time. There seems no avenue of appeal to school governors or the Department for Education.

After this judgement, any court action would have to be based on a different approach and what might that be?

Here at Just about Travel, we have taken the view that taking a child on holiday can be more of an education than remaining in class. If the child can keep up-to-date with lessons then we can’t see a reason why a child cannot go. The proviso is that a parent doesn’t make a habit of this.

Industrial action, training days and teaching staff being unavailable also causes disruption  but can a parent take the school to court for failing to adequately educate their child now that Lady Hale has pointed out this disruptive effect?

In Wales last year, 10.5% of all absences in primary schools were down to holidays not agreed by schools. In England, absences from school due to term-time holidays accounted for 27% of all missed lessons. Will head teachers now enforce the judgement strictly or will they adopt a more pragmatic approach? Will parents accept this judgement or flaunt it? Only time will tell.


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