The media attention that surrounded the High Court case brought by Jon Platt, an Isle of Wight father, who refused to pay a fine after taking his daughter on holiday during term time, shows that the topic is one that affects a great deal of parents in the UK.
And although the father saw the verdict ruled in his favour, it is likely to set a precedent for parents looking to avoid peak getaway prices, with many local authorities fearing a rise in families refusing to play by the rules if they feel their child has an otherwise high attendance record and are attaining their targets.
Section 444 of The Education Act 1996 sets outs the legalities of when a child must attend school in England. Any child of compulsory school age who is registered at a mainstream local authority school must attend school “regularly”, and the parent of any child who fails to attend school regularly is guilty of an offence.
There is no definitive answer as to what constitutes “regular” attendance and the burden is on the parent to prove to the court that they have complied with the legislation and ensured their child has in fact attended school regularly. Enforcement of this law varies with each Local Education Authority (LEA).
Lisa Broddle, Stone Rowe Brewer Partner, and Head of Family Team, said; “Whilst being aware of the relevant legislation, in practical terms, parents and schools need to think about what is in the best interests of the children, applying all educational, social and personal factors. This is always a balancing act.”
If you would like to speak about this issue or any family related situation, please contact Lisa Broddle or Tanja Williamson at Stone Rowe Brewer, who will be able to answer any questions you may have. Please call 020 8891 6141 or e-mail the Family Team.