Court overturns council on term-time holidays from school

Court overturns council on term-time holidays from school

Three families who refused to pay fines for taking their children away on holiday in school term time have won their court case.

They were issued with fines for unauthorised absence by Swindon Borough Council.

But the penalties were overturned at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court because the children’s attendances were good, the BBC reported.

A spokesman for the council said it was “disappointed with the outcome” but will now “reconsider the instances in which penalty notices are issued”.

One of those prosecuted, a single mother who does not want to be named to protect her son’s identity, was fined £60 after taking him out of school for a week at the end of the spring term.

The mother, who refused to pay the fine, said: “I’m a single parent and I was saving thousands of pounds on a holiday by taking it in term time – I didn’t take it at a crucial time in his education.”

It follows a case in May when Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, won his case at the High Court after taking his daughter out of school for 12 days on a family holiday to Florida.

He said: “The three parents who were dragged to court by Swindon council all had attendances far better than my daughter.

“It’s the local authority’s misunderstanding of the law driving them to issue penalty notices and prosecute parents who have done nothing wrong.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs.

“Over the past decade absence rates have followed a downward trend and almost 200,000 fewer pupils are now persistently missing school than in 2010 thanks to the hard work of teachers who are insisting on improved pupil behaviour and attendance.”

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