Greener BeeGreen HolidaysSupreme Court term time school holidays ruling: Jon Platt loses landmark Isle of Wight case

“They should be seriously looking at regional, flexible term times to spread holidays across a wider variety of weeks. And they should be welcoming opportunities for our young people to get out of the confines of the classroom and learn from exciting experiences they get when away from home.”

*Former Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr Jonathan Bacon, who led the authority at the start of the case, said: “The case was fundamentally about seeking certainty in an area of law that was uncertain and I am glad that this has now been resolved with a clear ruling on what ‘regular attendance’ means having now been given.

“In handing down this ruling the Supreme Court has recognised that attendance at school is fundamental to education and also recognised the importance of attendance to a school’s ability to teach all the pupils in the classroom as well as to the education of the individual child.

“It would be ridiculous if the contention being advance in some quarters that parents should have the unchecked ability to remove their child from school for up to 10% of the school year had been accepted by the Court.

“In my view there are two underlying problems that remain with the current system that need to be dealt with and which were never going to be dealt with by this case, but which the Government needs to address. I have never supported fines as the best means to coerce attendance.

“Their existence seems to be at the core of parents concern about the current system. They may be appropriate in extreme cases but it would surely be better to have good attendance supported and encouraged by a reward based system.

“Secondly, and perhaps more easy to deal with, is the fact that a few years ago head teachers had pretty much any discretion to authorise an absence from school taken away from them. This needs to be reversed. It is plain, and I have always said, that there are situations in which it will be beneficial for a child to be able to take part in events or activities outside school but during term time. Given the ability to exercise appropriate discretion head teachers can recognise this and ensure that absences do not disrupt the education process.”


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