Aycliffe Today Business PNE1578_AycliffeTodayBusiness_Issue28_WEBhighres - Page 17

The magazine for Aycliffe Business Park | 17 We don’t need no education! With Nick Dent, Head of the Education Team at law firm Endeavour Partnership... We’re fast approaching holiday season and the long school break is just around the corner. Plenty of time to take that family holiday. But prices rise, airports are busy and camp sites and hotels heave with stressed mums and dads. It’s no surprise then that some parents take their children out of school during term time- but it is actually illegal. Peak holiday demand drives up prices for flights and accommodation, and some families argue that term-time holidays are the only way they can afford to take their children on enriching overseas trips. The issue was brought to the fore earlier this year in the case of Jon Platt, the father who took his six-year-old out of school for a family holiday to Florida. The Supreme Court ruled that “no child should be taken out of school without good reason”. Mr Platt therefore lost his earlier legal challenge against a fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday. What does the law state? Since September 2013, Department for Education rule changes have made it harder for parents to get a school’s permission to take their children out of class during term time for more than 10 days and, now, there are tougher criteria of “exceptional circumstances”, restricting it to absences for events such as funerals of family members. What happens if parents or carers do opt to take their children out of school? Parents and carers are legally responsible for ensuring their children attend and failure to do so is an offence so parents have no legal right to take their children out of school during term time for holidays. Parents who do not have the school’s permission for their child’s absence face a maximum fine of £60.00 per pupil, per parent. That rises to £120.00 if not paid within seven days. Those who refuse to pay can face court action and, if prosecuted, a fine of up to £2500 and a possible jail sentence of up to three months. And what now in-light of the Jon Platt case? This ruling by The Supreme Court means that parents will have to comply with the rules set by schools and education authorities and will not receive any sympathy. In 2015, there were almost 20,000 such prosecutions, a rise of more than 20% on the previous year, leading to more than 11,000 fines and, in eight cases, jail sentences. The message to parents is now clear: remove your children from school during term time at your peril. Nick Dent Head of the Education Team, Endeavour Partnership www.endeavourpartnership.com Parents who do not have the school’s permission for their child’s absence face a maximum fine of £60.00 per pupil, per parent.