father wins high court case against £60 fine for taking his DD out of school

(173 Posts)
var123 Fri 13-May-16 13:56:37

I couldn't see this anywhere else, so apologies if there is another thread.

The news this afternoon is that a father who took his DD out of school to go to Disney World in Florida has won a case against his LEA and school who tried to fine him for it.

I think this will change things, especially as flights are so expensive this summer in particular.

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 13-May-16 14:00:46

I love this. Heard it on the radio. So pleased someone had the guts to take it further.

The Education Act of 19whatever says a child must be educated "at school, or otherwise". If this makes home-schooling perfectly legal, how the hell is it legal for the local authorities to fine parents for taking their children out of school during term time? Well, now we have it, apparently it's not. Hopefully this will become a turning point in the whole sorry saga.

Really pleased.

CQ Fri 13-May-16 14:02:51

At last, a victory for common sense.

var123 Fri 13-May-16 14:14:19

He said he didn't want to pay the fine because it would be accepting that he's a bad parent. (paraphrasing)
His DD's attendance was 93% and the LEA's definition of too low attendance was 90%, so he said it failed their own test. And the courts agreed.

I love what his lawyer said ... "Attendance alone does not guarantee that a child will do well academically, nor does missing a few classes prevent them from succeeding."

How many wasted days are there at school, particularly at primary. There's no educational value at all to sitting watching disney dvds all day at the end of term so if that's all right, then so should be holidays where the child learns a lot more than they do from watching Frozen (or whatever)

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Fri 13-May-16 14:21:47

'The end of term' is different here. They never have those dvd days as the new term actually starts a few weeks before the summer break.

So it's always been spent getting used to the new teachers/classrooms/timetables so come sept they all know what's happening and get straight on with it

Bluebolt Fri 13-May-16 14:27:15

I do not understand why primaries have to follow but how do we protect children with parents who do not possess common sense. DS1 friend year 10 is in Florida till Monday with a exam on Tuesay worth 25% of science GCSE.

icetip Fri 13-May-16 14:51:58

Meh! Won a point of law on the definition of "regular" attendance. No consideration of impact on the specific children or others around them. Hopefully teachers will be under no obligation to ensure "holidayers" catch up after the event, to the detriment of others. And if momentum grows let's see what the market does to the cost of term-time holidays.

RaeSkywalker Fri 13-May-16 14:56:19

If this goes the way it's now looking like it will, I'd be interested to see how it affects several things:
- attendance figures in terms of whole classes/ schools: I would assume that, for example, weeks in June will have a reasonably significant number of children absent.
- cost of holidays- surely if lots of people start doing this, term-time holiday costs will also increase. Obviously the hope is costs will reduce in holiday time too.
- will my employer keep giving priority for annual leave in school holiday to parents of school-aged children? I'd certainly challenge it if the same parent was also given annual leave for a holiday in term time.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 13-May-16 14:57:47

The law will be changed to clarify the situation - he won on a legal technicality.

Saw on BBC news that his child actually missed 19 days of school through the year - almost 4 weeks - which to me is a lot.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Fri 13-May-16 15:01:36

What Icetip said!

RaeSkywalker Fri 13-May-16 15:03:09

Bluebolt my best friend's parents did that too! End of year 10 we had an exam for 25% of science, they went to Florida and got back 2 days before. I phoned her to say hi and and asked if she'd been revising and she'd forgotten about it hmm

Unsurprisingly, she didn't do well in the exam and had to re-sit it in year 11 with all the other exams, adding to her stress. Unbelievably, her parents also went away before the exams in year 11 but got back a couple of weeks before so it wasn't quite as bad. I can remember saying that I wouldn't have waned to go on holiday before my exams- her Mum said something like "you might think it's silly now, but you'll feel differently if you have children and want to give them nice holidays". I'm currently pregnant with DC1 so it remains to be seen whether this is true but I highly doubt I will fee that way about holidays vs revision for important exams hmm

somelikeitmild Fri 13-May-16 15:06:09

How come the rest of the world don't need this fine system?

LurkingHusband Fri 13-May-16 15:07:05

The law will be changed to clarify the situation - he won on a legal technicality.

The "technicality" being what the law says.

Personally I'd rather live in a country where the law is what the law is. Not what people think it should be.

If parliament intended the law to work that way, they would have written the law that way. The fact they didn't, means they didn't.

ThisCakeFilledIsle Fri 13-May-16 15:21:57

Scotland doesn't have this system.

var123 Fri 13-May-16 17:47:36

For me, the problem is that the current system is too draconian. Its not about holidays abroad, but about taking the DC out for a day with family who live some distance away.
Or, for example, I'd love to take them to the House of Commons, which would be educational by anyone's measure, but I can't/ couldn't.

DS1 is going into Year10, so I won't be taking him out for anything less than a funeral now, but honestly they could've missed 2/3rds of KS1 and it would not have made any difference to where they are now.

niceguy2 Fri 13-May-16 17:53:37

How come the rest of the world don't need this fine system?

Cos everyone else uses this mystical thing called "Common Sense".

In the UK we're not to be trusted with such dangerous ideas.

FarAwayHills Fri 13-May-16 18:29:15

The old system where discretion was given to the HT worked just fine. Now we just have this ludicrous system that hasn't actually stopped parents taking their kids out of school, they just phone their child in sick instead. DDs teacher even advised them to phone in sick rather than request time off as it was unlikely to be authorisedshock

What sort of education system encourages lying about being rather than being open and honest.

prh47bridge Fri 13-May-16 18:33:51

If parliament intended the law to work that way, they would have written the law that way. The fact they didn't, means they didn't.

If you read the debates it is clear that parliament DID intend the law to work that way. The way the High Court has interpreted it today is contrary to parliament's intention.

Unless there is a successful appeal by the council involved I expect the government to rush through some legislation to clarify the law.

How come the rest of the world don't need this fine system?

We are by no means the only country in the world with fines for term time absence.

TimeforaNNChange Fri 13-May-16 18:43:36

The old system where discretion was given to the HT worked just fine

That's not what the HT Unions said. They appealed to the Government for stronger legislation to prevent parents demanding the 2 weeks they were entitled to irrespective of the HTs discretion.

var123 Fri 13-May-16 18:43:36

The whole business of too expensive holidays could be resolved by staggering the holiday calendar region, by region. This is what they do in Scotland and it works.
e.g. Aberdeen has a fortnight holiday in mid-October as well as six weeks in July/ early August. So, there's lots of chances to get away to the sun outside the peak prices.

www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/education_learning/schools/txt_scc_SchoolHols.asp

Then on the other side of the country, Glasgow breaks up a week earlier in Summer and has a week off in October.

www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=17024

English parent's problem is that gives the same six weeks (more of less) to all schools and the bulk of that is in August when the rest of Europe is taking their holidays too. For hotels, villas and airlines, it is a case supply and demand. They make their best money for the whole year in late July and early August and in the shoulder seasons they aim to break even.

specialsubject Fri 13-May-16 19:13:39

apparently the kid is six, so I suppose she's not exactly missing her GCSE mocks.

it wasn't end of year though, it was April.

how about 'if your kid is taken out for holidays, ok, but no assistance will be given with catching up. What it misses, it misses. Still happy to go see the mouse?'

staggering holidays is blindingly sensible and obvious. So sadly no chance... And 'common sense'...we wish!

TimeforaNNChange Fri 13-May-16 19:21:23

staggering holidays is blindingly sensible and obvious. So sadly no chance... And 'common sense'...we wish!

There's nothing to stop LAs doing this but its resisted by parents who have DCs at schools in neighbouring authorities.
There will always be families living near the boundaries of the 'region' that have DCs in both. It's only workable if there are large tranches of rural land or water between the areas.

LineyReborn Fri 13-May-16 19:46:00

I'm pleased by this judgement.

If the Government want to (re)legislate then fine - take it through a proper parliamentary debate and vote.

apple1992 Fri 13-May-16 19:54:23

The law will be changed to clarify the situation - he won on a legal technicality.
I think this too.

this ludicrous system that hasn't actually stopped parents taking their kids out of school, they just phone their child in sick instead.
I'm not sure this really works. Schools pick up on patterns and most would ask for medical evidence after a few days anyway. Or they'd be suspicious due to reason given, placing of the dates, and because usually another child or parents dobs them in! Then it is up to the parent to prove they weren't on holiday!

apple1992 Fri 13-May-16 19:56:30

how about 'if your kid is taken out for holidays, ok, but no assistance will be given with catching up. What it misses, it misses. Still happy to go see the mouse?'
I think this is unfair and not looking out fir the kids whose parents are more interested in tanning in Benidorm than their child's education.

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