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Education in the media: 26 June 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Term time holidays

Today’s news review looks at coverage over the weekend about sprinklers in schools and the final verdict from the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court about term-time holidays.

Sprinklers in schools

Yesterday, Sunday 25 June, the Observer reported that the government has no plans to relax fire safety standards in schools  in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The piece states that draft guidance, which could be seen as weakening safety requirements in schools, will not be carried forward. It is worth noting that, although the guidance in question has not been adopted, it would not have had any effect on the regulations regarding fire safety in schools.

Our guidance has always said that sprinklers must be fitted in new schools where a risk assessment says they are necessary. This remains the case. We will also be taking forward any findings from the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Following the Observer’s piece, this also received online pick-up from the Independent, Evening Standard, TES and Schools Week.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

There will be no change to the fire safety laws for schools, or our determination to protect children’s safety. It has always been the case, and remains the case, that where the risk assessment required for any new building recommends sprinklers are installed to keep children safe, they must be fitted.


Alongside the rest of Government, we will take forward any findings from the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Jon Platt ruling

On Friday 23 June, parent Jon Platt appeared at the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court in connection to taking his daughter on holiday to Florida back in 2015 during term-time.

Following a long-running case, Mr Platt was found guilty of failing to secure ‘regular’ attendance of his child.

Our position has always been clear that parents should only allow their child to miss school if they are ill, or if they have received advanced permission from the school.

We want every child to receive the best possible education. Missing lessons not only reduces a pupil’s chance of achieving good GCSEs, but can also be disruptive for other pupils in the class.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

This verdict reaffirms our position as clearly set out by the Supreme Court judgment. No child should be taken out of school without good reason.


Evidence shows that 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.

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