As we followed this series through we thought it was only prudent to bring you the final verdict. After the case went through the High Court the final appeal was heard by the Supreme Court.
They ruled that Mr Platt had taken his daughter out of school unlawfully. The reason for the change of decision was said to be the disruption that is caused to the pupils learning and the learning of others.
Deputy President Lady Hale said:
“If one pupil can be taken out whenever it suits the parent, then so can others … Any educational system expects people to keep the rules. Not to do so is unfair to those obedient parents who do keep the rules, whatever the costs or inconvenience to themselves.”
The previous debate over whether the pupiI had failed to attend regularly was deemed unnecessary in the end, as the court said it was just attendance in accordance with the rules and therefore what constituted regularly did not really come into discussion.
The ruling means that now only the headteacher can decide if the reason for absence is exceptional or not and if not, it is deemed as a fineable offence. According to the ruling, parents who choose to take their child out of school without the Headteacher’s permission are committing a criminal offence. Previously a headteacher could grant 10 days of absence now it is only in exceptional circumstances. Fines will be issued at £60 rising to £120 if not paid after 21 days. The maximum fine possible will be £2,500 or a sentence of three months in prison if the parents are prosecuted after 28 days.
Although the ruling has at least given clarity to schools and parents it was received with mixed reception from both parties.
It was stated that for a child to miss even one day in the classroom it would have an effect on their learning. At SAM, we feel the same way about teacher absence. When a teacher is not in school for whatever reason the learning of the children is affected and that is why we work with schools to support staff and get them back to work quicker when they are absent. SAM software highlights actions that need to be taken ensuring a quicker response and more robust process. If you don’t already use SAM software and would like a demo, please get in touch.