The highest court in the UK has upheld a ban on taking kids out of school to go on holiday.
Cheshire West and Chester Council say the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in relation to one dad’s challenge over a £120 fine incurred for taking his daughter to Disney World during term time means the legal position has now been ‘clarified’.
In a case which made headlines across the country, Jon Platt refused to pay the penalty demanded by Isle of Wight Council for the unauthorised absence on the grounds that his daughter’s attendance record of more than 90% met a a requirement of the Education Act that parents ensure their children attend school regularly.
He successfully argued the case at the High Court but justices at the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the fine.
Delivering the judgement, the court’s deputy president Lady Hale said: “Unauthorised absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the education of the individual child, but also on the work of other pupils, and of their teachers.”
She also said ‘any educational system expects people to keep the rules’, and those who don’t are being ‘unfair’ to the parents who do play by the rules.
So parents who take their children out of school without permission from the headteacher can be prosecuted.
Staff at schools under Cheshire West and Chester Council’s jurisdiction have been told to carry on determining holiday requests according to the guidelines.
A spokeswoman for the authority said: “Following the decision of the Supreme Court, in response to a father’s challenge against a fine for taking his daughter out of school for a family holiday, the legal position has been clarified.
“Pupils are expected to attend school every day on which they are required to.
“Schools in Cheshire West and Chester have been advised to continue to consider requests for a leave of absence in accordance with the regulations.
“The local authority will reflect further on the judgment in the coming weeks and communicate any operational or policy changes in due course.”
The cost of a getaway tends to soar during school holidays, so the decision could outrage parents who like to make the most of cheap term-time deals.