Isle of Wight Council can fight school holiday ruling

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Jon Platt outside the High CourtImage source, PA
Image caption,
The High Court ruled Jon Platt did not have to pay a £120 fine in May

A council has been told it can apply to challenge a High Court decision which ruled in favour of a father who took his daughter on holiday in term time.

The High Court ruled in May that Jon Platt did not have to pay a £120 fine to Isle of Wight Council after he took his daughter to Florida.

The court ruled Mr Platt had no case to answer because, overall, his daughter had attended school regularly.

The council can now apply to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

Senior judge Lord Justice Lloyd Jones said the case "raised a point of law of general public importance".

He said the High Court had refused permission to appeal, but the council could make its own application to the Supreme Court.

'Change of law'

The formal refusal by the High Court is a procedural device to allow the Supreme Court to select which cases it wishes to hear.

After Mr Platt refused to pay the £120 fine, magistrates ruled he had no case to answer.

The local authority took the case to the High Court for clarification and Mr Platt won the backing of senior judges.

Following the ruling, the government said it would consider changing the law over unauthorised absences.

The minister of state for schools, Nick Gibb, asked the council to appeal against the decision with the guarantee the Department for Education would fund the bid if it went to the Supreme Court.

Since 2013, tougher government regulations have meant head teachers can only grant leave of absence to pupils in schools in England during term time in "exceptional circumstances".

According to local authority data, almost 64,000 fines were imposed for unauthorised absences between September 2013 and August 2014.

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