Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Shorter school summer holidays plan approved for Isle of Wight

Jon Platt outside the Royal Courts of Justice Image copyright PA
Image caption Jon Platt lost his legal challenge at the Supreme Court in April 2017

School summer holidays are to be cut and replaced with longer half terms by a council at the centre of a legal battle over unauthorised absences.

Isle of Wight Council has approved plans to reduce the mid-year break following a public consultation.

The council was involved in a legal row with Jon Platt, who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on holiday during term-time.

The authority said support for the change had been "overwhelming".

It means the six-week summer break will be shortened by one week, with the autumn half-term increased to two weeks. The idea was backed by 67% of those who took part in the consultation.

Cabinet member for children's services Paul Brading admitted there was no statistical evidence to suggest it would improve standards.

"We're not delivering national standards on the Isle of Wight. An overwhelming mix of parents and teachers want to try something different and it's right we go with their wishes."

The system has also been tried in Brighton and Nottingham. The changes on the island are due to take effect in the 2019/20 academic year.

Many parents employed in the island's tourism industry had called for a change to the term times.

Mr Platt lost his case at the Supreme Court in April, despite winning prior legal battles against the council.

He had refused to pay a £120 fine for taking this daughter to Florida in 2015 during term time.

He was successful in the initial case brought by Isle of Wight Council when he argued his child had attended her primary school regularly.

However, after the Supreme Court ruling, the case was returned to magistrates where Mr Platt was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,000.

The case cost taxpayers £140,000.

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