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Dad fined for second holiday during term time

A father who won a court battle for taking his daughter on holiday during term-time has been fined for a second time

 

Jon Platt had previously contested a fine from Isle of Wight Council after he took his six-year-old on a family holiday to Florida in April 2015.

In court he successfully argued that section 444 of the Education Act did not prohibit term-time holidays as long as the pupil had a good attendance record.

Mr Platt has now been handed another fine, this time for £60 for taking his daughter on a trip to Lapland.

By law children must be educated between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

Under current council policy, fines rise to £120 if unpaid before the parent is taken to court.

It is understood that the dad-of-two could face a further court appearance if he fails to pay the new council-imposed fine.

Speaking to Isle of Wight Radio he said: “This will follow the same course of action as the last one.

“I won’t pay for 21 days, they will increase it to £120, I won’t pay it, then they will list it for a hearing at the Isle of Wight Magistrates, and then because they seem to have a better grasp of the law than the Isle of Wight Council’s legal department, will adjourn it pending the outcome of the High Court case.

“Don’t get me wrong, the temptation to pay a £60 fine and walk away from it is overwhelming, that’s why everybody pays the fine and walks away from it, but I just can’t because it’s not right, parents know what’s best for their kids.”

The council has said it will continue to implement the Government’s guidance until it receives further notice from the High Court.

It has applied to the High Court for clarification on what constitutes “regular” attendance at school.

Mr Platt set up a crowdfunding webpage to help raise £25,000 for expected legal costs and has so far raised more than £2,000.

A survey carried out by the Daily Telegraph last November found four out of five parents believe term-time holiday bans are unfair.

Since September, 2013, under guidance from the Department of Education, children can only be taken out of school during term time in “exceptional circumstances”.

Government figures show fines for term-time holidays have trebled since the ban was introduced two years ago.

More than 50,000 of the £60 fines were handed out to families in the academic year 2014-2015 for “unauthorised absences”.

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