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Term-time holidays – Isle of Wight v Platt

No, the Isle of Wight isn't full of these blue-eyed fiends. Different sort of Wight

No, the Isle of Wight isn’t full of these blue-eyed fiends. Different sort of Wight

I don’t normally do Education law here, but this case was a major news item when it was decided, and it has taken quite a while to get the judgment to be able to see what the Court ACTUALLY said.  [Also, as it relates to non school attendance, that’s something that does come up within care proceedings from time to time, so has relevance]

 

Isle of Wight Council v Platt 2016

 

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2016/1283.html

 

Mr Platt took his daughter on a holiday from 13th April 2015 to 21st April 2015. This was in school term times. He had asked the head teacher of the school for permission and the head teacher had refused. Head teachers have been advised as part of Government policy to only allow parents to take children out of school for holidays in exceptional cases.

 

The Government policy is based on the idea that children missing school is bad for their education, and disruptive for classes generally as missed lessons mean the teacher having to spend time in later classes bringing that child up to speed with what has been missed.

On the other side of the coin, many parents are unable to afford the hike in prices for holidays set by travel companies during school holidays. (That’s not just because travel companies are evil and exploitative, it is also economics – all prices are set by supply and demand – if supply is limited and demand is high prices will go up. With summer holidays, more people want to go on holiday in July and August, so the prices are more because demand has increased without the supply increasing)

 

The Isle of Wight Council sent Mr Platt a notice of the fine he would have to pay for unauthorised absence. (Some parents have found that the fine is less than the savings they make by going on holiday in term time, so again economically it makes sense to take the holiday and pay the fine)

Mr Platt decided that he did not want to pay the fine, so the Council took him to Court, prosecuting him for non school attendance

 

  1. The relevant provisions of section 444, Education Act 1996 are as follows:
    1. “(1) If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.

(1A) If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails without reasonable justification to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.

(2)Subsections (3) to (6) below apply in proceedings for an offence under this section in respect of a child who is not a boarder at the school at which he is a registered pupil.

(3)The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school—

(a) with leave,

(b) at any time when he was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause, or

(c) on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs.

(8)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(9)In this section ‘leave’, in relation to a school, means leave granted by any person authorised to do so by the governing body or proprietor of the school.”

 

With regard to the school’s power to give leave of absence, Regulation 2 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, SI 2013/756, amended Regulation 7 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1751, so as to provide that leave must not be granted unless the school considers that leave of absence should be granted due to the exceptional circumstances relating to that application.

The legal argument hinged (as many legal arguments do) on interpretation of a single word

 

 If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.

 

The Council said that for the prosecution, the period of time covered is that in the indictment. I.e, between 13th April 2015 and 21st April 2015 had Mr Platt sent his child to school regularly?  Well, no, because she hadn’t been at school at all during that period.

Mr Platt argued that ‘regularly’ should be taken to cover the school year as a whole. I.e that someone whose child was at school nearly all the time, but then missed a week, was still at school ‘regularly’

The Magistrates who originally heard the case decided in favour of Mr Platt and that he had not committed the offence. The case went to the High Court on appeal.

 

The High Court also agreed with Mr Platt, and refused the appeal.

Now, it is not quite as clear as the Press reports have said. This case is not authority for

 

You can’t be prosecuted for taking an unauthorised term-time holiday

It is okay to take an unauthorised term-time holiday

Those things are okay IF your child’s school attendance is above X amount

The Government Regulations about term-time holidays only being approved in exceptional circumstances are no more

or Anyone who has been refused permission to go on holiday can go

or Anyone who has been fined is okay to just tear it up

or Anyone who has paid a fine is entitled to their money back

 

All of those things are possible implications, but the High Court did not decide on any of them.

 

 

 

It is, however, authority for – when deciding whether a parent has failed to ensure that their child attended school, the Court is entitled and should consider the issue of regular attendance in light of overall attendance

In this case, the question whether attendance had been regular could not be ascertained solely by reference to the period of absence. It was necessary to have regard to the period of absence in a wider context of attendance. The magistrates were bound to consider whether there was regular school attendance in the light of all the evidence including the school’s record of attendance. In this case, I note that the education authority placed before the court M’s record of attendance from 1 September 2014 to 7 July 2015. I consider that the magistrates correctly had regard to that wider picture. Moreover in all the circumstances of this case I am unable to say that their conclusion was not one reasonably open to them. 

 

It is also authority for, simple unauthorised absence during term time does not automatically mean that the offence is committed

 

I am unable to accept Mr Jackson’s submission that consideration of Regulation 2 of the 2013 Regulations makes the intention of Parliament clear. He submits that its effect is that parents cannot simply take their children out of school to take them on holiday or for any other unauthorised reason, and such application should only be granted by the school in exceptional circumstances. First, the regulation is, of course, secondary legislation. Secondly, the regulation does not have the effect of amending the statute. In my view, the nature and scope of the offence created by section 444(1) remain unchanged. In particular I would reject the suggestion that Regulation 2 has the effect that any absence without statutory excuse necessarily constitutes an offence under section 444(1).

 

The Court were invited to go down a path of “without a clear definition of what regular means, the offence is too vague and thus unfair to prosecute any parent for non school attendance”   – presumably more with a view to the High Court attempting a definition of ‘regular’ rather than saying there’s no such thing as truancy any longer. The High Court did NOT fall into this trap, and made it clear that any Court contemplating such a thing would have to have representatives from the Department for Education in Court.

 

  1. I should record that in his wider case, set out in his outline submissions, Mr Greatorex points to the absence of a definition of “regular” and submits that the provision is far too vague to be the basis of a criminal offence, let alone an offence of strict liability. He submits that section 444(1) is not sufficiently clear and certain for a parent to know before taking a child out of school whether he or she is committing a criminal offence, and in this regard he draws attention to the observations of Elias J, as he then was, in Barnfather v London Borough of Islington [2003] 1 WLR 2318, at paragraph 57:
    1. “I recognise that the penalties are small, being only a fine, and that is a factor which can properly be considered when determining whether an offence of strict liability is justified. However, in my opinion there is nonetheless a real stigma attached to being found guilty of a criminal offence of this nature. It suggests either an indifference to one’s children, or incompetence at parenting, which in the case of the blameless parent will be unwarranted.”
  1. I draw attention to these submissions by Mr Greatorex without expressing any concluded view on them. It is not necessary for the court to consider these issues in order to dispose fairly of this case. Had the court considered it necessary to do so, in my view we should have had to consider whether the Department of Education should be served as an interested party in order that it might have the opportunity to make submissions on these wider issues. I would therefore answer the question posed by the magistrates in the case stated as follows:
    1. The magistrates did not err in law in taking into account attendance outside the offence dates 13 April to 24 April 2015 as particularised in the summons when determining the percentage attendance of the child.

 

Where the unauthorised term time holiday falls against a backdrop of otherwise good or average school attendance, Platt certainly makes it HARDER for a Council to go to Court to prosecute a parent who refuses to pay a fine.  [And if there’s less of a risk – there’s certainly not NO risk, then a parent may well be less inclined to pay the fine, and schools and Councils may be less inclined to send out fine notices not wanting to take their chances in Court if the fine isn’t paid]

 

But just because in this individual case, the Court were reasonable in deciding that there had been regular attendance because the overall school attendance was just above 90% does not mean that another Court could not decide that school attendance of 90.3% for the school year was NOT regular attendance.

That’s important. There isn’t some clear interpretation of ‘regular’ here that says “If the child has been absent less than X, then it is fine to have a term time holiday, if not then it would be a valid prosecution”

 

The High Court have not set parameters or definitions for what is, or is not regular attendance. They have just ruled that the Magistrates were right to take the whole context of school attendance into account, not just the unauthorised holiday period, and that it was then within their discretion to decide whether there was ‘regular’ school attendance or not.  Another Magistrates Court could consider exactly the same facts and reach a different conclusion without Platt meaning that they were wrong  (they would be wrong not to take ACCOUNT of school attendance overall, and I expect Platt would be waved under their nose and there would be heavy hints of an appeal if the Magistrates decided that 95% attendance wasn’t ‘regular’)

I suspect that we will see an amendment to s444 of the Education Act 1996, to put into statute the Government’s aim that holidays should not be taken within term time.  (They could say for example that ‘regular school attendance for the purpose of the Act can mean either (i) ensuring that the child attends school regularly throughout the school year or (ii) does not have an unauthorised absence of longer than 5 school days in any period of 31 days without a medical certificate or (iii) both.’   )

 

That probably won’t happen before this summer holiday, however.

 

What is hard to fathom, of course, is why a parent living in the Isle of Wight would want to take their child away on holiday when the Isle of Wight is Earth’s greatest holiday destination anyway?

 

[This post sponsored by the Isle of Wight Slightly Overstated Tourist Board]

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

54 responses

  1. Pingback: Isle of Wight v Platt High Court Judgment | edyourself

  2. Paul Randle-Jolliffe

    “What is hard to fathom, of course, is why a parent living in the Isle of Wight would want to take their child away on holiday when the Isle of Wight is Earth’s greatest holiday destination anyway?”

    Have you been to the Isle of Wight in April, it’s so blisteringly hot people need to get away to cooler climes!

    • The Isle of Wight overstating slightly tourist Board would like to use your last sentence in their promotional material, if that’s alright

      • They can try, but they might get into trouble for false advertising or even possibly fraud by misrepresentation!

        But I am happy to give them licence subject to suitable indemnity clause so I am not attached to any liability claims or prosecutions that may result.

  3. or (ii) does not have an unauthorised absence of longer than 5 school days in any period of 31 days without a medical certificate

    But that suggestion wouldn’t in any way stop a parent taking a child out of school for a week’s holiday

    Although I can understand why you say 5 days as a week’s absence would be similar to the length of time that one can self certify an absence from work due to sickness

  4. ashamedtobebritish

    There needs to be a clear timeframe of what is considered ‘regular attendance’ before any court can make decisions, it does not need to be complex or different from country to county.

    Sickness should not be considered in the attendance timeframe, it would be unfair to state a child with a 99.% sttendance can be excused to go on holiday, but the child with medical problems that involve hospital stays and appointments cannot (when they’d need a holiday more and it would seem they are punished for being ill)

    What if the holiday is educational?

    • I think the point is that the regulations and stat guidance and codes purported to change the primary legislation, but could not, you cannot be prosecuted by an offence under a regulation only a statute. The law has not changed for a long time.

      A unauthorised holiday on its own is NOT an offence without other factors being considered and so an automatic penalty for an unathorised absence only/alone is not and has never been lawful as an offence.

      So there was a conflict between the requirements on schools and LAs to administer what was an unlawful process imposed by the regulations and the criminal law itself. A Govian fudge!

      Put simply the regulations required unlawful actions.

      Only primary legislation can change primary legislation and that requires a full public consultation process.

      • That’s very nicely put and you encapsulate it perfectly

      • How this got through the drafting process and no body spotted this in the years since is beyond me.

        Its not as if has not passed by the eyes of a myriad of lawyers and supposed Magistrates judicial minds in having to be applied since over 100,000 times!

        The emperors new regulations?

        I am also aware of many other instances of such things in a number of other areas, (not all regulations), in fact it is very common and some quite harmful, but I cannot afford the legal fees to tidy it all up ATM.

        But I have chosen a theme tune for such matters:- Madness ONE STEP BEYOND!

      • You are very kind to say so suesspiciousminds, thank you!

      • ashamedtobebritish

        Interesting, although it’s muddied the waters for me a little

        When you say unauthorised absence alone, what else is there that could go with it? Would you mind putting up an example please?
        For some reason I simply cannot process what you are saying, but would like to understand this fully

        TIA

    • Family Matters

      Good point, ashamedtobebritish! In my case it literally was educational: I took my kids out of school for a fortnight in February this year to experience full-time education abroad and got fined on return. What could be more educational than attending a school, albeit elsewhere??

  5. Peter McBride

    The previous regulations allowed a child to be removed from school for up to 2 weeks if going with a parent on annual holiday. It was never clear how this affected children of divorced parents.

  6. Pingback: Term-time holidays – Isle of Wight v Pla...

  7. Surely absences for holidays never used to be an offence in days when I was young so when and how did it change if it ever changed at all.?………..
    Judges interpret the laws and civil servants interpret their regulations in ways that suit their personal beliefs and sometimes in direct contradiction of the intentions of those who drafted them in the first place.Article 8 human rights for example…………

    • ashamedtobebritish

      Exactly that.

      I took my children on holiday every year during term time, they weren’t going to get one if I’d booked during peak season, I couldn’t have funded it.
      Not once did the school question it, I simply told them what was happening and they just told us to have a nice time

      • thats the whole point, despite the two regulations, one under blair and one under cameron the law has never changed, parents have only have to ensure their children only have to attend regularly since our day, the regulations were hocus pocus law

    • “When you say unauthorised absence alone, what else is there that could go with it? Would you mind putting up an example please?”

      Well I am not a judge so I can only think like a responsible parent.

      in the 70s when i was 11 my family went on a 3 month trek abroad, that was ok, some was over the Christmas break, i was ahead at school.

      the two high high court cases the combined give low 80’s to low 90s% attendance as ok, but where the line is no body knows because the law is not specific

      I would expect 50% is going to be a factor, so its level of attendance plus holiday, but what has to be considered who knows,

      i can only presume that there would need to be no remedial or attainment issue as an additional factor that a holiday would affect but im guessing

      I would assume if you went during SATS it would be an issue

      I would assume if the child was truanting as well

      I would assume there would need to be some irresponsibility

      what other factors?, who knows? i am not aware of any cases or case law, except under the current unlawful, but hey they made it up, regime

      the point is the law is not specific and you really cannot be prosecuted criminally under a criminal law if you cannot know where the line is, except maybe under the ordinary man principle

      • ashamedtobebritish

        What of those who home educate? They’re not really regulated, and could argue that the child is in attendance (at home/with their teacher (carer) their learning capacity isn’t down to the teacher after all.

        So an example, they are teaching Religious Education and take them to a different country to learn about the cultures, religion and some geography thrown in, come home, write an essay about the experience, which brings English Lang and English Lit into the mix … that would be pretty hard for the Ed Dept to argue?

        Yes I am playing Devil’s Advocate in a sense, but I do feel this is a valid point

      • no it does not work like that

        the law only requires parents to see that a child is educated and there is choice

        they have choice to do it themselves or contract our privately or to the state

        the attend school regularly law only applies to state schools, you can have a hybrid part time state school, but that depends on the LEA agreeing

    • It changed when the Government produced regulations (the ones discussed in the case and the blog piece) telling head teachers that they must only authorise holidays in term times when there are exceptional reasons. It was a political decision, of the Government. From what I’ve read, it was a very unpopular political decision, but it was imposed on head teachers, schools and Councils by the Government.

      • Yes but it did not change the statute, so it did not create an extended class of offence, at law its a wag finger only consequence in the school register.

      • No, as confirmed by this case. But Ian Forced Adoption was asking why parents are being prosecuted for term time holidays now, when they weren’t in the 1970s when Ian was still in the UK. The political context (that and school’s being judged on league tables by their attendance figures, which again was a political decision – albeit not a party political one, since Labour and Conservatives both support that)

      • LOL yes, penalties & prosecutions resulting from the “statistical impact” of league tables on politicians.

        “Children must be in school to make the numbers look better.”

        Does that mean parents were penalized to make politicians look good?

      • which is true, but weird, because surely the only people who really care about school performance are parents. I don’t understand politics, sometimes*

        *almost all the time.

  8. Jon Platt
    23 mins Ago

    “UPDATE – SCHOOL FINES REFUNDS: As many of you will be aware I have been working on the possibility of reclaiming ‘school fines’ (truancy penalty notices or TPNs) that have been paid in respect of term time holidays. I am unable to tell you anything about the legal advice I have received (for technical reasons aimed at ‘protecting’ that legal advice) but what I CAN tell you today is that we WILL be asking every local authority in the UK to refund all TPNs that were unlawfully issued to avoid litigation by thousands of parents. If they refuse, then we will invite ALL parents in England and Wales to enter their details on our new website (that is currently under construction) with a view to taking forward a group litigation. The details are not yet all in place so please don’t message me yet asking for further advice as time taken responding to individual messages is time not spent getting all the pieces in place, but in a week or so I will be able to post on here the web address where you can get ALL the information and resources you need and to sign up for a refund. YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED TO PAY US MONEY TO SIGN UP FOR THIS. Finally, I am aware that MOST local authorities have suspended the issuing of TPNs and most have withdrawn pending prosecutions BUT some still seem to think that they can ‘win’ these cases. Due to ‘reporting restrictions’ I can’t identify WHO but I can tell you that yesterday, Cambridgeshire County Council threw EVERYTHING they had at a family who took their kids on holiday to Florida last September (8 senior people attended court for the local authority PLUS a barrister), and despite their best efforts to secure a conviction, Cambridge Magistrates threw it out. The judgment in my case is now available for local authorities to read so I expect to see 99% of cases pending in Magistrates Courts withdrawn in the coming days. If yours is not withdrawn, I strongly advise contacting the media because they are REALLY interested in follow up stories (I have spent all day on the phone to the BBC, Guardian and others today who want to hear other people’s stories) and media interest does seem to ‘focus the minds’ of those in legal departments in my experience. Finally, as always, if you don’t mind, please SHARE this post to make as many parents as possible aware of what is happening.”

    • That’s very interesting, and I suspect he will get a lot of parents taking him up on it.

      • There are many thousands biting at the chance! (We Islanders are pretty independent bunch and one needs something to do out of tourist season.)

        If you look at the parliamentary petition there are people from every constituency in the UK, so its going to be pretty interesting.

        Jon passed me the draft legal argument before it went to the high court and I added a tweak or two to what was quite impressive,

        Also since the day of the hearing I laid out the various legal arguments and some action template routes ahead of the judgement release which Jon has, but others have been using on their own in a large FB group, mostly with success. Jon is also part of that group. Though no one has used the Crown Court Appeal or Stat Dec for quasing as irregular ones on court fines yet as far as I am aware, its mostly “please provide evidence that my child has not attended regularly” on notice of penalty. A few have made claims for refunds which have been stonewalled or just refused.

        Jon is going JR route and he is used to dealing with PPI claims professionally so is used to having to be accurate with the law.

        I may also do a Public Interest Intervention/AC, if I can add anything.

        It will be a few thousand parents.

      • I don’t think every LA has ever been named in a JR before? Just the posting of service and managing responses is going to be an exercise in itself.

        And can you imagine several hundred LA legal depts having to communicate with each other to select one or two representatives for them all and the logistics of instruction if they want to be rep in court or several hundred deciding to do it them selves. Even 50 reps in court for a case management hearing?

        Forget the case for a moment, the run up legal theater itself will be interesting and how the gov responds.

        Or maybe they just fold?

        I think I know what my PII/AC will be as I dont think Jon’s team will deal with it, they don’t need to.

      • I suspect that someone will be doing the number-crunching on the costs of paying back all those fines and settling versus fighting a case in Court. Convictions are a bit trickier, since the LA can’t waive the conviction. A raft of applications to appeal out of time? The fresh evidence test is quite a high hurdle, and Court of Appeal are absolutely drowning in backlogged work, so might take a while. Interesting stuff though.

      • Which is why I drafted a statutory declaration format, 1 page, which could be used individually in Magistrates for Statutory Defense, including that no evidence of crime that “children did not attend regularly” was presented. Just like in any other statutory penalty.

        Or appeal on same basis to crown court.

        Far easier than JR or other type appeal

        With the fact that term time holiday case states holiday on its own is not a crime etc

        Put simply there has to be a crime for a conviction other wise unsafe.

    • Scott Gilbert

      What about those parents who have being criminalised by their conviction?

      Will it be quashed?
      Will they be compensated?

      • It would be unlikely, but possible. The High Court here have not said that any parent who took a holiday in term time was not committing an offence, merely that the way THESE Magistrates dealt with the case was reasonable, and guiding that for the future it is right to take into account a wider context of regular attendance than just the holiday period. It isn’t usual that a development in law applies retrospectively, though it does sometimes happen. It would need another court case, probably up in the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court to decide about retrospective action (which is why Mr Platt is suggesting a class action – getting a bunch of parents together rather than the burden all being on one person)

      • I would expect the quash yes

      • yes it will take the new case to address things as a class action

  9. Deanna humphries

    Could you also focus on parents that can not take holidays during school holiday times.

  10. When it’s 14.00 in London it’s 1936 in the Isle of Wight.

  11. Just been reported in the Guardian that this is being appealed at the instigation of the government. It’s also being bankrolled by the government and not the LA:-

    The Isle of Wight local authority also announced it would appeal against the high court ruling, at the suggestion of the minister. A spokesman said: “Nick Gibb has formally requested that the Isle of Wight council makes an application for permission to appeal against the high court judgment of 13 May, in relation to unauthorised school absence. As a result, the Isle of Wight council has today formally submitted papers applying for permission to appeal.

    “If an appeal is granted by the high court or, subsequently, the supreme court, the department has stated it will specifically seek to be joined as a party to the proceedings and take the lead in the appeal.”

    The council’s leader, Jonathan Bacon, said: “Our initial response was not to expend further Isle of Wight council money on pursuing an appeal. However, as a result of the formal request from the minister, the local and national importance of this issue, and the DfE’s commitment to cover all the costs of the appeal and contribute to the council’s previous costs, we have decided to lodge an appeal in order to resolve the issue for all.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jun/09/minister-tells-schools-to-ignore-high-court-ruling-on-term-time-holidays

    • They are nuts, Jon Platt and team will make mince meat of them as Regulations Cannot Change Primary Legislation and magic a new offence out of thin air!

      The theater continues

      • ashamedtobebritish

        Keep watching … Once the EU inny/outty show is over, there will be a new law passed that states a zero tolerance on holidays within term time.

        Didn’t you know it’s not about education, it’s about control, if the children aren’t in school, their every move can’t be watched, they can’t be questioned without consent which will create problems for agencies who have targets to meet

      • As I said in my original article, the Government can fix this by producing an Education Act that redefines the offence to make it clear that term time holidays constitute an offence unless authorised. However, whilst it is fairly easy to get Regs made, an Act requires (a) Parliamentary time and (b) to have the votes. Maybe they aren’t that confident that with a small majority and a very hot-button topic that they would get an Act prosecuting parents for going on holiday in term time through.

      • ashamedtobebritish

        It does seem like a lot of energy for a lost cause, the loopholes will always be there and people will always find them, but, I’m sure they’ll try for it anyway depending on the appeal outcome, which I really am scratching my head over, the man has already proved punishment without crime, it’s a done deal really

      • Well yes, one loophole that’s already widely used is that the parent just sends in a sick note saying that little Timmy will be off all week with a cold. Little Timmy turns up to school a week later with a suntan, and nothing happens. Everyone knows he has been on unauthorised holiday, but nothing happens about it.

        The Education Act does create a crime, so it isn’t punishment without crime. It is just a crime that has ingredients which are worded too vaguely at present. If Parliament does decide that it wants to criminalise term-time holidays without authorisation and to make the Act clearer that this is intended, they can and will do it. The issue is more whether the political will is there for MPs with small majorities, who would be vulnerable to parent groups lobbying and campaigning against those who vote in support of it.

      • ashamedtobebritish

        And there will plenty of them!

        It’s all about common sense, don’t take your child out during exams, it’s going to cause a problem for them, if your child is 7 years old, a week or two away for some much needed family time is far more important than chip and biff

      • I am almost afraid to ask, but “Chip and biff”? Assuming it is the new “Tim and the Hidden People” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_and_the_Hidden_People

        That’s what my school had for the reading challenged, and the rest of us got SRA. They ran out of colours far too quickly though, and had to use things like “Tan” and “Bronze”

        http://hackeducation.com/2015/03/19/sra

      • [Just realised that I googled both Tim and Hidden People AND SRA, for the nostalgia hit, but not Chip and Biff. Yes, they are exactly that,

        https://global.oup.com/education/content/children/series/read-with-biff-chip-kipper/?region=uk

        Now I want to find out how the Griffin pirate stories ended. I think my primary school hadn’t bought the full set, thinking that none of us would get that deep into the series. But I loved them. Roderick the Red and Benjamin the Blue.

        http://schoolreading70sbooks.weebly.com/the-three-pirates-griffin-and-little-dragons.html

      • ashamedtobebritish

        I think ages/generations are starting to come out here … Let’s leave it there lol 😀

      • ashamedtobebritish

        Chip and biff are the new Janet and John … Well they were when my kids were at primary school

    • Hmm I seem to remember something about not abiding by a court ruling is called? Hm let me see ah yes “Contempt of Court.”

      Maybe the Government has created a new regulation that it does not apply to them?

      • Appealing against a judgment is not contempt of court.

      • No but telling schools to ignore the judgement and just keep issuing could be?

      • The judgment though doesn’t actually set a legal precedent that 90% attendance is okay. The precedent is that the Court has to take into account the wider context of attendance. The High Court was extremely careful not to give a ruling as to what would, or would not be ‘regular’ attendance. As it was an appeal, all they had to decide was whether it was “Wrong” for the Magistrates to consider ‘regularly’ as part of the wider context of the child’s attendance rather than just whether they had attended regularly during the week that they were off, and decided that the Magistrates were not wrong. (They went a little further and say that they were right, so any Court who decides cases now on the narrow basis would be wrong)

        It just isn’t as definitive a judgment as the Press coverage would have people believe. Which is not altogether helpful either way – Councils don’t know for sure whether a prosecution has a chance of succeeding, parents don’t know whether they will be prosecuted.

      • Though of course the UK Government does have form on refusing to comply with a Court judgment – the ECHR decision on votes for prisoners being the prime example. Where they just waited and waited and waited until it sorted itself out by other countries having the similar issue come up in a later ECHR case, rather than actually complying with the Judgment.

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