Father to hear ruling on out-of-school-time holidays challenge


A father who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter out of school for a family trip to Florida is expected to hear the result of a legal challenge at the High Court today.

Jon Platt was issued the fine by the Isle of Wight Council after he took his family on the trip, which included a visit to Walt Disney World, last April without permission from the school.

The issue of the fine, which was originally £60 and then doubled because of his refusal to pay, went before the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court in October and Mr Platt won his case.

But the local authority has appealed the decision in the High Court.

It comes as a survey revealed families face paying more than double the price for a package holiday as soon as school holidays begin.

Mr Platt said the case had cost him £13,000, which he described as "money well spent".

Taking his six-year-old daughter out of school was not about the cost but rather the principle that he should not be criminalised for doing so, he said.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "If the law required 100% attendance, if the law said your children must attend every single day in order to get a great education, the law would say that - but it does not.

"We are not arguing on behalf of people whose kids don't go to school, I'm arguing on behalf of people whose kids go to school every single day and maybe once a year they take them out for five days.

"It does not harm them at all. How do I know? Because my own kids are doing really, really well in school. They never had 100% attendance but they never had less than 93% attendance.

"Paying the fine was an acceptance that I had committed a criminal offence, I was so indifferent to my children's wellbeing that it amounted to a criminal offence.

"That's just not true - I'm not such an incompetent parent or so indifferent to their wellbeing that I should be criminalised for it."

Mr Platt was fined £60 again in February after taking his daughter on another trip out of school holidays to Lapland. At the time he said he would refuse to pay while he awaited the High Court's ruling.

A survey by travel money provider FairFX of package holidays for a family of four at a four star hotel in Tenerife, Majorca, the Costa del Sol and the Algarve found that prices increase by up to 115% compared with the same trip taken two weeks before schools close for the summer.