More parents than ever are being PROSECUTED for taking their kids on holiday in term time


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

The number of parents being prosecuted for taking their kids on holiday during school term time has risen by a fifth in the space of a year

Parents are being prosecuted now more than ever before for taking their kids out of school during term time to go on holiday.

The number of parents facing court has risen by a fifth in the space of only a year, with nearly 20,000 cases being brought in 2015 - up from just over 15,000 in 2014.

Parents are being prosecuted more and more for taking their kids out of school (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Most parents who were found guilty received fines, but a worrying 553 of them received community sentences - and eight were jailed.

This is a result of the 2013 law brought in by Michael Gove which stipulated that no holidays during term time would be allowed, scrapping 2006 guidelines that said it was down to the headteacher's discretion.

And today, the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision to uphold a ban on school term time holidays.

After a two-year court battle, they ruled against Jon Platt who refused to pay a fine issued after he took his daughter of of school during term time to take her on holiday.

The father-of-three was handed a £120 fine by the Isle Of Wight council in 2015 after taking his seven-year-old daughter to Disney World in Florida.

Jon Platt spoke after his Supreme Court ruling (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

But he refused to pay the fine, which was originally £60 and doubled to £120 after he refused, and instead was taken to a Magistrates course who ruled in his favour and told him he had "no case to answer".

This was put to appeal, and the High Court agreed with the magistrates - but this was overruled today by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court told Mr Platt that to agree with him would be "a slap in the face to obedient parents who keep to the rules".

Speaking on the steps of the court house, Jon said: "This is no longer about term-time holiday. It is about the state taking the rights of parents away to make decisions about their own children.

"I'm pleased that they acknowledged the judgment doesn't go on to say what the school rules should be. Schools need to think very carefully about what these rules should be."

Jon with his wife Sally (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

He has now been ordered to return to the Magistrates Court and pay his original fine of £120, or else face a fine of £2,500 and potential jail time - although this is considered unlikely.

John Pugh, an education spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, was "disappointed" by the ruling, saying: "Many employees have no choice when to take their holidays... Others simply cannot afford to go on holiday at peak times, when the cost of holidays goes through the roof."

But a spokeswoman from the Department for Education said: "We are pleased the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with our position - that no child should be taken out of school without good reason.

"As before, head teachers have the ability to decide when exceptional circumstances allow for a child to be absent but today's ruling removes the uncertainty for schools and local authorities that was created by the previous judgment.

"The evidence shows every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances."

Mr Platt was fined for taking his daughter to Disney World Florida (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Consumer travel company FairFX are calling for a shake-up in the holiday travel company to "stamp out" price hikes for summer holidays.

The company found that families are forced to pay up to £1,000 extra to take their kids on holiday during school term time.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX, said: "Despite national outcry and a legal battle reaching the Supreme Court, the industry has ignored the plight families are facing up and down the country who are worried about the escalating cost of their holiday.

"Families accept they're likely to pay more to travel within peak holiday times but some of the price hikes we're seeing are outrageous and brings the industry into disrepute.

"There's an obvious supply and demand mechanic behind pricing strategies but with the cost of holidays being hiked so incredulously, it's not fair on families and these extreme cases need addressing. No parent should feel that they have no other option than to take their child out of school.

"The Supreme Court Ruling will be disappointing for many families who had hoped that the decision to holiday in or out of term time would not be a legal issue. A major shake-up is needed to support parents in making the right education decisions for their child without depriving them of the opportunity to see the world and learn through travel. Currently the travel industry is holding parents to ransom, and this must change."

Jon defended his decision on the steps of the Supreme Court (Credit: Getty Images) ©Getty Images

Some parents were left fuming at double standards in 2014 when a head teacher took two weeks off during term time to go on holiday so he could watch the World Cup.

Citing "personal reasons", Ed McGovern, head teacher at Stafford Leys Primary School in Leicester went to Brazil for two weeks so that he could watch the football.

Zoe Gibbs, mother of two boys who went to the primary school at the time, said: "If I were to take my son out of school I'm sure I'd be punished."

"When my son had tonsillitis, he was off for two weeks and Mr McGovern wrote us a letter saying he had had too long off sick. If that's too long when you're genuinely ill then going on a jolly to Brazil isn't right."

What do YOU think?

Have you ever had negative repercussions from taking your kids out of school in term time? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more like this:

7 reasons why half term school holidays are HELL

UK mum faces jail after taking 9-year-old daughter on holiday during school term time

Couple whose children are "too advanced" for school have been travelling for 19 months

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us