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Councils drop term time holiday prosecutions after court decision: research

An investigation by the BBC has found that some councils have dropped court cases against parents over term-time holidays following a court victory by local parent John Platt against Isle of Wight Council.

Mr Platt had taken his daughter on holiday to Florida during term time and argued that since she attended school regularly he should not be fined for her absence. The council is now taking the matter to the Supreme Court, backed by the Department for Education.

The BBC’s survey results showed 10 councils had dropped cases, six had suspended issuing fines and 11 were reviewing their policies.

There were responses from 80 councils, 49 of which said they would not change their policy.

Those that had dropped cases were: Derby, Devon, Dudley, Lambeth, Portsmouth, Sandwell, South Gloucestershire, Trafford, Wakefield and Warwickshire. Councils that stopped issuing penalty notices were: Bury, Cornwall, Derby, Dorset, Oldham and Southwark.

Those which were reviewing their policy were: Croydon, Devon, Essex, Gloucestershire, Lambeth, North Tyneside, North Yorkshire, Redcar & Cleveland, Shropshire and Southampton.

A Department for Education spokesman said in response to the BBC’s findings: “The rules are perfectly clear - children should not be taken out of school without good reason.

“That is why we have tightened the rules and are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence.

“The 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 - vindicating our strong stance on attendance.”

The question is what are Rhondda Cynon Taf Council doing about it?