I have been following quite closely the story of Jon Platt who has taken his case about a term time holiday fine to the High Court. I was delighted he won the case this week and that the High Court has stated he doesn’t have a case to answer. Magistrates on the Isle of Wight had originally dismissed the case too but the Council took it to the High Court.
Mr Platt’s point was that the law states children must attend school “regularly”. Since his daughter had a 100% attendance record up to the point they went to Disney Land for a week, he argued that she was attending regularly. Ditto when they went to Lapland this year, she again had a good attendance record. The High Court have agreed and have over turned the fine and it now looks likely that other families will appeal their fines, and that the whole idea will be scrapped, or the law revised at least.
Thank God. Common sense finally prevails.
You see it isnt just about holidays. It is about a whole load of other reasons for taking children out of school:
The family member getting married abroad who wants your child to be bridesmaid.
The dying grandad at the other end of the country that you want to see before they pass away.
The Bowering family who in January were fined for taking their children on a term time holiday to get over the grief of losing their beloved granny for instance. Their fines have amounted to nearly £1000. Surely being together as a family is far more important at a time like that than being forced to sit in a classroom when you can’t think straight.
So much learning can be done outside of a classroom environment why do schools frown upon these cases? I am not for one second saying it is right to take your kids out of school for a fortnight every year, a week before GCSEs start, of course it isnt. But six year olds going away for a week? There is no harm done there.
There is so much to be gained from seeing the world, and it shouldn’t just happen in August. At a time when most people can no longer afford a holiday because the holiday companies hike the prices up to such an extent most families can’t afford to go.
I was talking to a friend this week who is thinking about taking her primary school aged daughter out of school for a week in June. An all inclusive holiday for the two of them is less than half the price they would pay if they went a month later. As a single parent she couldn’t afford to go in July. And some may say “well a holiday is a luxury, not a right”, that is true. But this holiday is to see family who are living abroad and to see a way of life that will create life long memories. To sample a different culture, meet different people, try different food. How can that be wrong at the age of 7?
Missing 25 hours of school, which isnt even 25 hours of learning, it is probably nearer 20.