The local authority that lost a high court case brought against it by a father who was fined for taking his daughter on holiday during term-time is to appeal the decision.
Last month the Isle of Wight Council lost the case after it was ruled Jon Platt did not have to pay the £120 fine, prompting speculation many more families will exploit the ruling. Platt subsequently announced he had set up a company to help other parents pursue refunds for fines paid.
The court ruling hinged on interpretation of what “regular attendance” refers to in the legislation and the court decided Platt’s daughter had attended school regularly.
The Isle of Wight Council has confirmed it is pursuing the appeal after the government agreed to pay for its legal fees as the issue is one of national importance.
Council leader Jonathan Bacon said: “Our initial response was not to expend further Isle of Wight Council money on pursuing an appeal.
“However, as a result of the formal request from the minister, the local and national importance of this issue and the department for education’s commitment to cover all the costs of the appeal and contribute to the council’s previous costs, we have decided to lodge an appeal in order to resolve the issue for all.”
Meanwhile schools minister Nick Gibbs has written to headteachers urging them to ignore the Platt ruling after concerns were raised that the case would cause widespread confusion.
Describing the decision as “disappointing”, he added it did not “establish a hard and fast rule” and said teachers should continue to apply the current policy that allows fines to be imposed.
“Instead a decision will have to depend on the individual facts of each case,” he said.
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