13:16, June 23 318 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-23 13:16:03
School holidays row: Isle of Wight man loses legal fight over daughter's absence

A father who took his child out of school for a holiday during term time, sparking a long-running legal fight, has been found guilty of failing to secure her regular attendance.

Jon Platt’s legal fight had previously gone all the way from Isle of Wight magistrates court to defeat at the supreme court, at a cost of nearly £140,000 to the public purse, and his latest disappointment came in a hearing back at the magistrates court on Friday.

Giving the judgment, magistrate Jeannie Walker said: “The circumstances of this case fall squarely into that breach of school rules.”

The court had previously heard that the case should be thrown out, as Platt’s lawyers argued that pursuing legal action against him amounted to an “abuse of process”. They said that Platt had been told his daughter’s attendance was satisfactory and that he had not seen documents setting out a new school policy in which term-time holidays were no longer allowed.

But a lawyer for Isle of Wight council argued that the school is not required to make sure that every letter sent home is read, and that the council’s code of conduct had also made it plain that a penalty notice could be issued for a term-time holiday.

Before Friday’s ruling, it was revealed that the government had spent £139,891.93 up to 10 May on fighting Platt in court after he refused to pay a £60 fine in 2015. A freedom of information request by the Press Association revealed that the Department for Education spent £53,655 on high court and supreme court cases and reimbursed the Isle of Wight council £86,237, including £14,631 to cover Platt’s high court costs, which the council had been ordered to cover.

More to follow...