School holiday dad: Father slams decision to appeal High Court ruling on term-time holidays

Jon Platt has slammed the decision of the Isle of Wight Council to appeal the High Court ruling which overturned a fine levied against him for taking his daughter out of school

The High Court, which ruled in favour of Jon Platt in May

Friday, June 10, 2016

A father who won a High Court ruling after challenging a school's right to fine him for taking his daughter on a term-time holiday has slammed a decision by the Department of Education and Isle of Wight Council to appeal against the findings.

Jon Platt was hit with a fine of £60 after withdrawing his six-year-old daughter from her school on the Isle of Wight to attend a family holiday in Florida in April 2015. 

He successfully fought the fine in the magistrates court and the High Court, but Schools Minister Nick Gibb has this week expressed his "disappointment" at the High Court decision and told all state schools they should continue applying the current regulations that allow parents to be fined for unauthorised absences.

"Hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is going to be spent trying to appeal this," Platt told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"Nick Gibb has clearly spent the last few weeks going around his colleagues in the Conservative Party to build support for a change they announced to try to get around this High Court judgement.

"They obviously discovered quickly they don't have enough support to make a draconian change, so they want to change the words 'children must attend school regularly' to 'children must attend school every single day' without lawful excuse."

Platt argued the fining system, introduced in 2006 and tightened in 2013, is not being used to meet its stated aims. 

"It was originally only meant to be used for persistent truancy," he said.

"In 2013, they amended it to be allowed to issue fines for term-time holidays and other unauthorised absences. 

"I have parents messaging me, telling me they are being taken to court when their children have 97 per cent attendance.

"[Schools should not] seek to drag someone to court whose child has a very good [attendance] record."