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The state is taking the rights away from parents

Posted on 6th April, 2017

This is today’s reported comment of Mr Jon Platt. He has lost his case before the Supreme Court in which the decision means that parents cannot expect state schools to be flexible about permitting children to be removed from class attendance for social or pleasure reasons.

Mr Platt challenged a fine imposed by his local authority for taking his daughter, who had no less that a 92% attendance record, to Disney World during term-time.

In a Government-backed appeal by the local authority the Court has ruled on the issue of interpretation of  “regular attendance at school”, a failure of which can trigger a penalty through the Magistrates Court.

The result is a blow to parents fed-up with paying a premium to tour operators during school vacations.

The ruling does not mean the end of campaigns on this issue.

Headteachers have the right to permit absences if there is good reason. We have clarity that a family holiday is very unlikely to be counted as appropriate exceptional circumstances. Nevertheless, parents may want to ask for help in making their representations to the school. The Judges considered that the disruption effect on pupils outweighs the wishes of a family. However, each situation should be looked at on its merits, so while the door appears closed, it is not locked.

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