Irish father wins High Court battle over taking daughter out of school during term time

Irish father wins High Court battle over taking daughter out of school during term time

AN IRISH father who was fined by his local authority for taking his child out of school for a family holiday has won a landmark ruling in his favour.

Jonathan Platt, who is originally from the North of Ireland, was issued with a £60 fine by the Isle of Wight council after he took his daughter out of school during term-time for a trip to Florida.

The fine was later doubled to £120 after Mr Platt refused to pay.

The penalty was ioverturned after Mr Platt's case was heard before Isle of Wight Magistrates Court in October.

However, the local authority appealed the ruling in the High Court, which upheld the magistrates' court's initial decision last Friday.

The ruling could pave the way for changes on laws currently in place, which impose fines on parents and guardians who take their children out of school outside of authorised holiday time.

Rules brought in under former Education Secretary Michael Gove imposed fixed-penalty fines of £60 for unauthorised absences, which double if not paid within three weeks.

Until 2013, head teachers in England had been permitted to allow families two weeks a year in "special circumstances".

According to The Telegraph, in the 2014-2015 academic year 50,414 fines were issued to parents over unauthorised absences.

Jonathan Platt, a 45-year-old company director, won his case at the Magistrates Court on the basis that, overall, his daughter had attended school regularly.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Platt, who is now facing £13,000 in legal fees, said his decision to take his daughter out of school had not been based on cost saving.

"For ten years I’d been trying to get a window where all of the family could go away.

"We managed to get 15 of us [on the holiday] and the cost was actually the same on the day we flew if we’d flown a week earlier."