Wiltshire

Term-time holiday families in Swindon win case in court

Single mother, Swindon
Image caption A single mother was fined £60 after taking her child out of school for a week at the end of the spring term

Three families who refused to pay fines for taking their children on holiday in term time have won their court case.

The three were issued with fines for unauthorised absence by Swindon Borough Council.

The penalties were overturned at Salisbury Magistrates' Court because the children's attendances were good.

A spokesman for the council said it was "disappointed with the outcome" but will now "reconsider the instances in which penalty notices are issued".

One of those prosecuted, a single mother who does not want to be named to protect her son's identity, was fined £60 after taking him out of school for a week at the end of the spring term.

The mother, who refused to pay the fine, said: "I'm a single parent and I was saving thousands of pounds on a holiday by taking it in term time - I didn't take it at a crucial time in his education."

Image caption Jon Platt won his case at the High Court after taking his daughter out of school for a trip to Florida last year

It follows a case in May when Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, won his case at the High Court after taking his daughter to Florida for 12 days.

He said: "The three parents who were dragged to court by Swindon council all had attendances far better than my daughter.

"It's the local authority's misunderstanding of the law driving them to issue penalty notices and prosecute parents who have done nothing wrong."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs.

"Over the past decade absence rates have followed a downward trend and almost 200,000 fewer pupils are now persistently missing school than in 2010 thanks to the hard work of teachers who are insisting on improved pupil behaviour and attendance."

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