Father loses legal battle at the UK’s highest court over taking his daughter on holiday during term time

A father has lost a landmark legal battle at the UK’s highest court over taking his daughter to Disney World during school term-time.

father looses battle

Mr Platt, who took his daughter on a seven-day family trip to Florida in April 2015 without the school’s permission, was prosecuted by Isle of Wight Council after he refused to pay a £120 penalty.

But local magistrates found there was no case to answer.

Then, five justices at the Supreme Court unanimously allowed an appeal by education chiefs against an earlier ruling that Jon Platt had not acted unlawfully.

Two High Court judges in London later upheld the magistrate’s’ decision, declaring Mr Platt was not acting unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record of over 90%.

They said the magistrates were entitled to take into account the ‘wider picture’ of the child’s attendance record outside of the dates she was absent on the holiday.

jon platt

In an action closely watched by schools and parents all over the country, the council urged the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court decision, saying it raised important issues over what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ at school.

The justices ruled in the council’s favour this morning.

The High Court had cleared Mr Platt of failing to ensure his daughter attended school regularly, as required by section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996.

But the panel of Supreme Court justices, including the court’s president Lord Neuberger, declared that Parliament’s intention was that the word ‘regularly’ means ‘in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school’.

Mr Platt has said he was ‘not at all surprised’ to have lost the battle, adding that schools now need to think ‘very carefully’ about absence rules.

Mr Platt’s case now has to return to the magistrates’ court as a result of the decision.

Source: www.metro.co.uk