More clarity has been called for on what constitutes special circumstances for absence, after a father won an appeal at the High Court last month.

The Court said that the terms that defined what ‘regular’ attendance was, within the Education Act, were not clear and therefore, looking at the rest of the attendance record of the child they ruled in favour of the father and confirmed that this was just one exception.

Since the case, the Government has said that it will look to issue statutory guidance to schools on this matter and has reinforced its commitment to ensuring pupil attendance. Some local authorities have even chosen to suspend issuing fines until further clarity is received. However on 9th June, the Isle of Wight Council stated that it would be appealing against the decision again and that this had come as a direct request from Nick Gibb, the Schools’ Minister. The Government is keen to win this battle and set a precedent for future cases. Hopefully, the clarity that headteachers and local authorities require will soon be available.

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