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Dad wins high court term-time holiday case

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Godmeister, May 13, 2016.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I don't think a comment made about your post where you claimed to be speaking for most, if not all teachers, can be said to be 'very rude'. FWIW it was aimed at all those who might espouse the view that 'holidays of 6 weeks are sooooo long that they are boring', not just you...

    I'm sure I could be much ruder if you wish...:D
  2. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    Anyway, moving on.

    The government has said it will to change the law after this judgement. But has anyone got any idea what they might actually do?

    They have a problem, in that changing the law from its current wording to explicitly say term-time holidays are illegal will remove the discretion they currently give, which is limited, but still there.
  3. rachel_g41

    rachel_g41 Established commenter

    A school "which is understood to have previously fined parents for unauthorised absences" is giving kids a half day next week to watch Wales-England and is being accused of hypocrisy.


    The quote at the end from the Parents Want A Say campaigners reads more like a rant than a reasoned argument but I suppose if you'd been fined for a family holiday you might feel a big aggrieved by this.
  4. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    This perhaps supports the argument that, thanks to the Government (NOT schools) making the ruling re no term-time holidays, any flexibility, goodwill and give & take between schools & parents have been destroyed.
  5. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    Do schools fine parents?
  6. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Latest from the DfE:
    Dear Colleague,

    I am writing to set out the Government's position on unauthorised school absence and next steps following the judgment by the High Court on Friday 13 May regarding the case of the Isle of Wight Council v Jon Platt.

    I am disappointed with the High Court ruling. I am clear that no child should miss school apart from in exceptional circumstances.

    Over the past six years, schools and local authorities have taken the lead in reducing overall absence to make sure more children attend school every day. Overall absence in primary, secondary and special schools has been on a downward trend since 2010/11. In particular, since introducing the changes to the regulations in 2013 so that absence is only granted in exceptional circumstances, the rate of absence due to term time holidays has decreased by more than a third.

    This is a significant achievement. As you will be aware there is clear evidence that absence from school is linked to lower levels of attainment. The Department's latest analysis published in March shows that every extra day missed was associated with lower attainment at age 11 and at age 16. In other words, every extra day of school that is missed can affect a pupil's chance of gaining good GCSE results.

    I wish to advise you on two matters.

    1. The High Court's judgment did not establish a hard and fast rule that a pupil's attendance above 90% is regarded as 'regular' attendance. Instead a decision will have to depend on the individual facts of each case. In the Isle of Wight case, for example, the magistrates thought it was a pertinent fact that the school itself had described 90% attendance as 'satisfactory'.

    2. We understand that some parents who have already been given penalty notices and have paid the penalty are asking local authorities to withdraw the notices under regulation 8 of the Education (Penalty notices) (England) Regulations 2007 and refund their payments. However, the view of the Department is that the decision in the Isle of Wight case does not require local authorities to do this, and I would expect applications of this kind to be refused in the ordinary course of events. We will set out any additional steps necessary to secure children's attendance at school in due course.

    In the meantime, it re
    mains the case - as set out in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 amended in 2013 - that headteachers continue to have the power to authorise leave of absence, but only in exceptional circumstances. While family holidays are enriching experiences, the school year is designed to give families the opportunity for these breaks without having to disrupt their children's education. It is for schools to consider the specific details and relevant context behind each request. Schools know their pupils best and are well placed to make those judgements.

    I am clear that we need to continue reducing absence, building on the success schools and local authorities have already achieved, to support attainment and ensure all pupils fulfil their potential.
  7. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  8. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Either the judgement is reversed, or the Government (& schools) have to allow parents to take holidays whenever they want...Thin end of the wedge...
  9. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    So they have evidence of a correlation. That's hardly a surprise though, is it?

    But then comes the unsupported leap to causation.
    Thanks for posting this, Jesmond....it demonstrates the lack of logic in their thinking...as was predicted.
    Being beaurocrats, they probably presume that any garbage that they spout will be accepted at face value; they say it is true, so it must be true.
    slingshotsally, delnon and Jesmond12 like this.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

  11. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    The law never changed. It was the way it was being applied that was challenged.

    The law says children should attend regularly. This is specified elsewhere as over 90% attendance. The government told councils to fine parents if they took time off for holidays. Platt's original appeal was that, whilst that's what the government told councils to do, it wasn't supported by the wording of the law. He argued (successfully) that his children had over 90% attendance, despite the time taken off for the holiday.

    In the case you've linked to:

    I suspect this was an easy day for the magistrates.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I think the word 'regularly' is open to misunderstanding. if a child attends school every Monday, Wednesday & Friday without fail, they are attending regularly - but not frequently.
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If only it were it would make the whole legal argument a lot simpler. No-one has defined "regular" as meaning in law 90% attendance. There's a suggestion that the school in the IoW case might have said that 90% was the minimum acceptable attendance but that's fact-specific to the IoW decision.

    DfE use 90% attendance for their statistical analysis of 'persistent absence' but they've never said it had anything to do with the legal definition of 'regular attendance'
    FrankWolley likes this.

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