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Local councils drop term-time holiday cases
Posted on 11/07/2016

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A BBC investigation reported that ten local councils across England had already dropped legal action, six had suspended issuing penalties and ten others were reviewing their policies.

Local councils across England have been dropping legal action in term-time holiday cases after the High Court ruled in favour of a parent who took his daughter to Disneyland. In May Jon Platt won his High Court case as Appeal Court judges ruled that it is not illegal to remove a child from school provided that the child otherwise has 'regular' attendance.

Parents can take their children on holiday without fearing a fine.

Parents can take their children on holiday without fearing a fine.
Chensiyuan/CC BY-SA 3.0

The BBC conducted an investigation of the impact that Mr Platt's court victory had on the policies of more than 80 local councils in England. According to the research results, Trafford, Dudley, Wakefield, Portsmouth, Devon, Warwickshire, Sandwell, Derby and South Gloucestershire have all together dropped all of their cases against parents.

It also found that Bury, Derby, Southwark, Oldham, Cornwall, Dorset and Lambeth have stopped issuing penalty notices. Devon, Essex, Gloucestershire, Lambeth, North Tyneside, North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland, Shropshire, Southampton, Southwark reported that they are in the process of reviewing their policies.

But the report also served as a warning to some parents, as 49 local councils reported that they were not currently changing any of their procedures.

Mr Platt was taken to court after he refused to pay a 120 fine for taking his daughter on a holiday to Walt Disney World, Florida, in term-time without the school's permission.

The law, which came into force in 2013, states that schools cannot grant leave of absence to pupils unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'. Parents who take their children away without the head teacher's permission could receive 60 fine. That penalty doubles if it is not paid within three weeks.

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