Court proceedings against 13 parents from Chester and Ellesmere Port have been adjourned in light of a landmark High Court judgment concerning children going on unauthorised holidays during term-time.
Each of the 13 is accused of being ‘the parent of a child of compulsory school age registered at a school who failed to attend regularly’ for allegedly taking their children on holiday during the school term.
The criminal charges relate to pupils at Highfield, Woodlands and St Bernard’s Catholic Primary Schools, Ellesmere Port Catholic High and Blacon High Schools.
Awaiting judgment's detail
But Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) adjourned the hearings at Chester Magistrates Court today (May 19), pending the publication of the High Court’s ruling in favour of a dad who took his daughter out of school so his family could enjoy a dream holiday to Disney World in Florida on Friday (May 13).
In a case which made national headlines, Jon Platt refused to pay a £120 fine issued by Isle of Wight Council after the unauthorised absence last April, and was backed by the local magistrates court.
The local authority then appealed to the High Court, where Mr Platt successfully argued that his daughter’s attendance record of more than 90% met a requirement of the Education Act that parents ensure their children attend school regularly.
Attendance record taken into account
High Court judges ruled that magistrates were entitled to consider the broader picture of the child’s overall attendance record.
Vanessa Whiting, director of governance at CWaC, said: “In light of the very recent High Court judgment in the Isle of Wight v Platt court case, the full judgment of which is yet to be published, the council has adjourned matters already listed in the magistrates court in order to digest the full rationale of the judgment once it is available. ”
Online travel agent sunshine.co.uk has revealed a massive 88% spike in family holiday bookings during term-time through their site the weekend following the ruling compared with the previous weekend.
The hearings have been adjourned until July 28.