The long running legal wrangle over whether parents should be permitted to absent their children from school for term-time holidays is to be heard by the Supreme Court, the BBC reports.
The original case brought by Isle of Wight Council, which tried to fine Jon Platt £120 for taking his daughter out of school for a family trip to Florida, was lost by the council in the magistrates’ court. The council then appealed to the High Court, where they lost again.
The Supreme Courts has now allowed the case to be heard by it, meaning it will be the final challenge to the initial ruling. A panel of three justices, who reviewed the case, decided the Supreme Court hearing could go ahead. It is expected to be heard on January 31st.
Jon Platt has argued throughout the case, that the council should not have fined him, as his daughter’s overall attendance in schools was good. The Isle of Wight’s appeal against the magistrate ruling was made at the request of Schools Minister, Nick Gibb.
The council have argued the case is an important legal precedent for families on the issue of term-time holidays, on which there is no national policy.
The Department of Education is also backing the council, saying it is collaborating on the case to consider the next steps, saying:
“Our position remains that children should not be taken out of school without good reason. That is why we have tightened the rules and are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence. The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances – vindicating our strong stance on attendance.”
Mr Platt said in response:
“I am disappointed that the appeal has been allowed. Their position is so shocking I hoped the court would say it was not arguable, let alone winnable.
The decision creates uncertainty and distress for parents, who will be worried sick for the next few weeks that they may have committed a criminal offence by taking their children out of school.
But I am delighted we won’t have to wait long for the hearing. Usually it would take six months for a full hearing, so it has been expedited.”