Following my previous post about term-time holiday prosecutions, the Isle of Wight Council has recently announced that it will be appealing the Divisional Court’s judgment in the Platt case. The Council will first have to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
After initially stating that the Council would not be pursuing an appeal, the Department for Education has now formally requested for the Council to make an application for permission to appeal and has agreed to meet the Council’s cost in respect of this. The Department has also confirmed that it will seek to be joined as a party to the proceedings if an appeal is granted. This clearly evidences the national importance of this issue as well as the Department’s commitment to applying the current regulations.
Nick Gibb, Schools Minister, has written to schools to say that they should continue following the current regulations and fining parents as before. However it has been reported that parents are now asking are fines to be rescinded following the Platt case. Given the extensive coverage of the case, it is going to be difficult for head teachers to simple ignore the case as requested and it is clear that additional guidance is necessary.
Every individual case does depend on its facts, but it is evident that legislation and statutory guidance still needs to be reviewed so that the law in relation to school absence is clear to both schools and parents.
Headteachers have been ordered to ignore a recent high court ruling that overturned a fine imposed for an unauthorised family holiday taken during term time. The schools minister, Nick Gibb, told all state schools in England he was “disappointed” by the ruling and said they should continue applying the current regulations that allow parents to be fined.