School holiday dad: 'I WON in the High Court, but wish I'd paid £60 fine'

'If I could go back in time, would I have paid the £60 fine? Probably', says Jon Platt

Parent Jon Platt says his court victory has caused a lot of aggravation

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A father branded a hero by other parents after fighting a fine for taking his daughter out of school during term time has admitted that he would probably have paid the £60 charge if he had realised the "aggravation" his stance would cause. 

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.

After he refused to pay, citing his daughter's otherwise excellent attendance record at the school, the fine was doubled to £120. 

The battle escalated from the Isle of Wight magistrates court to the High Court, and in May Platt won his case. He admits, though, that he was not planning on becoming a minor celebrity in the process. 

"I've become the poster boy for this, not by my choice," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"It wasn't my choice to end up being prosecuted, either in the magistrates court or the appeal in the High Court, but because of that hundreds are parents are messaging me, dozens every day, telling me stories.

"If I could go back in time, and knew I was going to have to deal with the aggravation I have dealt with, would I have paid the £60? Probably." 

Despite that aggravation, Platt says his fight was worth the trouble.  

"If you don't stand up at some point in your life and say this is wrong, this nonsense will go on forever. I was able to do it was because I could afford the consequences of doing it.  

"Far too many parents in this country have been denied access to justice because they can't afford to spend £1,000 on a solicitor to represent them at a magistrates court, and risk £30,000 in costs at the High Court, when they win and the local authority appeal.

"That's a hell of a frightening experience."

The court ruled that because the law states parents must make children attend school 'regularly', he was entitled to take his child out and should not have been prosecuted.

"I didn't break the law and I didn't break the rules," he said.

"Two hundred local authorities in the United Kingdom have been issuing truancy penalty notices unlawfully, because they have to have a reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence had been committed."