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Education in the media: 7 April 2017

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Today’s news review looks at the Supreme Court ruling about term-time holidays and when children can miss school.

Supreme Court ruling 

Yesterday, Thursday 6 April, the Supreme Court ruled against Jon Platt, a father from the Isle of Wight, following a long-running legal case about term-time holidays.

Mr Platt took his daughter to Florida in April 2015 for seven days without permission from the school. He chose not to pay the £60 fixed penalty, which rose to £120 after being unpaid for 21 days.

All five judges unanimously accepted the case put forward by the Isle of Wight Council and the Department, concluding that regular attendance means children must attend in accordance with the school’s policy.

We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed with our long-standing position that no child should be absent during term-time without good reason.

It is important to note that nothing has changed in terms of the rules for parents, nor the guidance that we give to schools. Headteachers can still grant permission to parents in exceptional circumstances, and of course any child can miss school if they are unwell.

All schools also have the freedom to decide their own term dates, provided they operate within a legal limit of a minimum of 190 school days each year.

The ruling received widespread coverage across broadcast, print and online media, including BBC Online, ITV News and Daily Express.

A Department for Education spokesperson 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, headteachers 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.


We will examine the judgment carefully and will update schools and local authorities as soon as possible so they are clear what the judgment means for them.

To read our guidance on school attendance and absence, please see here.


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