Term-time holidays – Father wins High Court case

This news in today comes courtesy of Miss J (who was right to raise it!). Basically, section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 requires parents, under law, to ensure that their children attend school during term time. Jon Platt’s a chap who took his daughter on holiday in term time to Florida last year, but refused to pay a subsequent £120 fine imposed upon him by magistrates on the Isle of Wight; today he won a High Court ruling in his favour. The details are briefly to be seen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36277940

… In short this is a good example applicable to Unit 2’s Judges & Civil Liberties topic… Especially as an example of the courts over-ruling an earlier legal decision and setting a precedent in the process. Additionally, it’s a good example to use for questions that require you to comment upon the powers of the courts to challenge the rulings of authorities, statute law and the policy of government.

This ‘term time holiday’ example is also potentially useful as an insight into what can, after all, be a testy relationship between a government (with a mandate) and the judicial branch of government. The High Court have supported Mr Platt, but in doing so have effectively challenged the government to respond. Something that won’t take long given a spokesman from the Department of Education’s words this afternoon; “We will look at the judgement in detail but are clear children’s attendance is non-negotiable so we will now look to change the law. …We also plan to strengthen statutory guidance to schools and local authorities.” So watch this space.

This article, from the Independent, is also good for extension reading into both this case and the government’s intended response. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/term-time-holidays-verdict-government-could-change-school-attendance-law-after-father-wins-high-a7028081.html

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