http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035hzv0 (2 min clip from Radio 5 Live, 17 October 2015)
Jon Platt is a father of 2 children who lives in the Isle of Wight. Last April he took both children + stepson + fiancé + other members of his family on a 8-day holiday to Florida. His six-year-old daughter’s school was still in session, so that meant that he took his daughter out of school during term time.
On his return to England he got a notice of a £60 GBP ($92.63 USD) fine from his local council for removing his child from school (and after 3/4 weeks unpaid that would double to £120). The council contacted him again, so he sent them an email explaining his circumstances, and why he removed his daughter from school. They essentially ignored all that & said “pay the fine or we go to court” and he said “take me to court” (that was either mighty courageous or damn foolish, depending on your point of view:- refusing to pay the fine is a criminal offence (thank you Mr Blair)).
The Act that Jon was prosecuted under is the Education Act 1996, section 444, sub-section 1, which says:- “...a parent is committing an offence if the child does not attend school regularly”. The council had said that children could only be excused from school under “exceptional circumstances” (and subsequently has claimed that it is “only following government guidelines”). At the recent court case Jon argued that he “didn’t have to argue exceptional circumstances”, and the court agreed.
I do not think that we have heard the last of this.
--------- Alex Kemp