Parents line up to challenge term-time holiday fines

Parents line up to challenge term-time holiday fines

Thousands of parents are poised to have fines refunded after the High Court ruled that children can be taken on term-time holidays.

But the Department for Education vowed to close the loophole and change the law to remove the requirement that school attendance is “regular” – which will mean that every unauthorised absence will be illegal.

However, any such changes could take years to implement and in the meantime millions of families could book term-time holidays following Friday’s ruling, according to reports over the weekend.

The landmark case was won by Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on a family holiday to Florida.

He made legal history after the High Court ruled he was not guilty of any criminal offence.

The test case will help parents take term-time holidays without fear of being prosecuted - and potentially allow some of the 200,000 fines handed out over the years to be reclaimed.

The case, which made front page news across many national newspapers on Saturday, highlighted the issue of the high cost of holidays during school breaks.

Andrew Shelton, managing director of flight search website Cheapflights, said: “It's unsurprising that families are flouting the rules when it comes to taking children out of school during term time as prices can rise significantly in line with demand during the holidays.

“A quick search on our site today shows that families can save up to 45% by travelling during term time; a flight to Lanzarote is just £204 in September, which represents a saving of £340 on the adult tickets alone against the August price of £374.

“Hopefully this ruling will lead to some relaxation of the rules to flatten out those peak demand periods, giving everyone the chance to enjoy the benefits of a family getaway."

A father-of-two who was twice fined for taking his children on holiday during term time is now taking his fight to the European courts, claiming the law contravenes his human rights.

US-born Noah Myers, who lives in Brighton, will argue that the law goes against article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which deals with respect for “private and family life”.

Myers said he had been bolstered by Friday’s ruling.

He told the Sunday Times: “I have been waiting to see the outcome of the Platt battle and am now preparing to press ahead with my European case.”

His case is being backed by former Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who has set up a group called The Parents' Union to campaign for the term-time holiday ban to be axed.

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