- Council changes rules over parents taking children on term time holidays
- Comes following father Jon Platt’s victory at the High Court last May
- Derbyshire Council has introduced interim arrangements abolishing fines
- Parents in the local authority area will avoid the fine as long as the pupil’s total attendance over the previous year is 94 per cent or above
Keiligh Baker for MailOnline
Derbyshire County Council has changed its rules over parents taking children on holidays during term time following Jon Platt’s victory
Parents in one local authority have been given the green light to take their children on holiday during term time without the risk of being fined.
Derbyshire County Council has changed its rules following Isle of Wight father Jon Platt’s victory at The High Court last May.
Judges decided Mr Platt – who had originally been fined £120 by his local authority – did not break the law when he took his six-year-old daughter on a family trip to Florida.
But a month later Isle of Wight Council was told it could apply to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the High Court judgment.
Derbyshire County Council has now introduced interim arrangements abolishing fines while awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling – as long as a pupil’s total attendance over the previous year is 94 per cent or above.
Instead, parents will be sent a letter advising them that their child’s record will show the holiday, and any further absences during term time ‘may result in the issue of a penalty notice’.
However, the council says the change in policy should not be taken as tacit approval for children to be taken out of school for a holiday and instead recommends that absences in term time should only be taken in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: ‘The council has approved new interim arrangements following the Isle of Wight High Court ruling on unauthorised pupil absences. These arrangements provide schools with a guide to help headteachers make decisions about unauthorised absences.
‘While we strongly recommend pupils should not be taken out of school during term time except in exceptional circumstances, we believe the interim arrangements provide a fair and proportionate approach using the average Derbyshire annual attendance rate.’
Derbyshire County Council’s interim unauthorised school absence policy now reads in full: ‘Schools should continue to consider requests for holiday absence in accordance with pupil regulations (exceptional circumstances only) and submit all requests for the issue of penalty notices to the local authority in the normal way.
HOW CAN PARENTS AVOID THE HOLIDAY FINE?
Derbyshire County Council has introduced interim arrangements abolishing fines while awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling.
A pupil will be allowed to go on a term time holiday as long as their total attendance over the previous year is 94 per cent or above.
So in order for parents with children at school in Derbyshire to take their children out of school without being fined, their children can only have been off for maximum of 11 days the year before.
‘Where overall attendance is above 94 per cent over the previous 12 months, calculated from the week after the holiday absence, penalty notices will not be issued.
‘In such cases, parents will be sent a letter advising that their child’s record will show the unauthorised holiday and any future unauthorised leave may result in the issue of a penalty notice.
‘Where all absence, including unauthorised holiday absence, would result in an overall attendance of 94 per cent or below, penalty notices will be issued.’
Kathryn Boulton, service director at Derbyshire County Council, described the interim policy as ‘fair and proportionate.’
She said: ‘In the interim period, the council approved some arrangements that supports schools with some local guidance on supporting good school attendance.
‘There are always exceptional circumstances and the county council believes that these interim measures provide a fair and a proportionate approach.’
In the 2014/15 school year, Derbyshire County Council handed out more than 3,174 fines, – the fifth highest in the country. It is not known how many of those fines were for holiday absences.
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