The Supreme Court is today hearing a case involving a father who was fined and prosecuted for taking his daughter out of school during term time.
John Platt was taken to court by Isle of Wight Council for taking his daughter on a seven-day trip to Florida during the school term after being refused permission by the head teacher.
Platt was fined £60 but did not pay the fine by the initial deadline meaning the local authority doubled his penalty to £120.
When he refused to pay the second fine he was prosecuted on the basis of an alleged failure to secure his daughter’s regular attendance at school, which the council said was in breach of the Education Act 1996.
Isle of Wight Council v Platt made its way to the Supreme Court after both the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court and the High Court ruling in Platt’s favour. The magistrates’ court held that the daughter was a regular attender, with a 92.3% attendance rate, and that there was no case to answer.
On appeal, the High Court found that the magistrates’ court was entitled to take into account attendance outside the offence dates when determining the attendance of the daughter.
The Department for Education has intervened in the case and is meeting the council’s legal costs.