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Schools relax term time holiday fine rules as one dad gets ready for Supreme Court case

SCHOOLS in Britain are relaxing the rules around term-time holidays following asuccessful high court appeal made by a parent last year.

Councils around the country are re-evaluating their rules around schoolchildren going on holiday during term time, with some schools now scrapping fines for parents entirely.

The Department for Education say that days off school can affect a pupils chances of achieving good GCSEs

Underguidance from the Department of Education, it was announced in 2013 that children would no longer be allowed to be taken out of school duringterm time unless there were exceptional circumstances.

Parents who take their children out of school are liable to pay a 60 fine, doubling to 120 if the penalty isnt paid within three weeks.

Those who dont pay face prosecution and amaximum fine of 2,500 or, in some cases, up to three months in prison.

Jon Platt from the Isle of Wight was hauled before court last year for refusing to pay a 120 fine when he took his seven-year-old daughter on holidayto Disney World and Lapland.

He won hisHigh Court case because he argued that his daughters regular attendance at school balanced outthe holidays.

A judge agreed, overruling the fine.

Since then, many councils have changed their policies around term-time holidays and fines.

An investigation by the BBC found that 35 English councils have changed their policy following the High Court decision.

A further five are reviewing their policy, while 28 have withdrawn fines entirely.

Local councils and schools have the ability to use legal powersto impose fines.

Of the councils that provided information, 22 told the BBC that the number of parents taking term-time holidays has increased.

At the time of Mr Platts High Court ruling,a Department for Education spokesman said: The rules are perfectly clear children should not be taken out of school without good reason.

The evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupils chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances vindicating our strong stance on attendance.

A child who is absent also impacts teachers, whose planning of lessons is disrupted by children missing large portions of teaching.

Figures have revealed that 50,414 fines were issued to parents between 2014 and 2015.

Despite Mr Platts success at the High Court, the Isle of Wight council, which lost the case against Mr Platt, was later granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgement. The court case takes place this week.

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