Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Term-time holidays: Isle of Wight parent's legal case thrown out

Jonathan Platt
Image caption Jon Platt insisted his six-year-old daughter's education did not suffer from the week-long family holiday in Florida

Parents who take children on holiday in term time have "nothing to fear", a man at the centre of a legal battle says.

Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, was taken to court after refusing to pay a £120 fine for taking his six-year-old daughter to Florida in April, but the case was thrown out by magistrates.

Mr Platt argued the law only requires children to attend school regularly.

Isle of Wight Council said it was following government guidance and was reviewing the outcome of the case.

'No detrimental impact'

Mr Platt took his daughter out of school to go to Florida with 15 other members of their family, despite an absence request being rejected by the school.

"I cannot allow a local education authority to tell me what is right for my kids - I know what is best for my kids," he said.

He insisted his children got "great value and great experiences" from the trip, with "no detrimental impact whatsoever" on their education.

Having refused to pay a £120 penalty, at a magistrates' court earlier this week, he had successfully argued Section 444 of the Education Act required parents ensured their children attended school "regularly", and did not put restrictions on taking them on holidays in term time.

His daughter had a 93.8% attendance rate the previous academic year.

'Head teacher's discretion'

"There is no complex loophole - parents have nothing to fear from LEAs ... if your children have attended school regularly," he said.

"LEAs are trying to use the legislation intended to stop truancy to stop parents taking their kids on holiday."

In a statement, the council said it took legal action based on "appropriate legislation, Department for Education regulations and guidance".

A DfE spokesperson said: "Head teachers have the discretion to grant term time holiday in exceptional circumstances, as they always have.

"But it is a myth that missing school even for a short time is harmless to a child's education."

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