School term-time holiday Supreme Court battle
Should a parent be able to decide whether or not to take their own child on holiday in term-time?
Many parents would argue that holidays are an education in themselves; they broaden the minds of children and allow them to experience a richness of life they wouldn't within the classroom. Others claim missing just one week of school can cut a child's chances of achieving well by up to a quarter.
The Supreme Court is deciding whether parents should be allowed to book a term-time holiday for the family, if the child’s attendance for the remainder of the year is satisfactory.
The case started when Jon Platt successfully challenged the £120 fine from the Isle of Wight council for taking his daughter on holiday to Disney World in Florida during term-time. However the Isle of Wight Council, with the backing of the Department for Education, took the case to the Supreme Court.
As parents of school-age children will know, regulations were introduced in 2013 that prevented head teachers at state schools in England from allowing discretionary term-time holiday for pupils with a good record of attendance. Parents will also be acutely aware that prices of flights can be more than twice as much during school holiday times.
Now, over 4 million days of unauthorised absences occur each year in these schools. The rules state that if a school declares an absence unauthorised, the council can fine each parent £60 per child, doubling to £120 if not paid within 21 days.
The Supreme Court’s decision is expected soon.