School Attendance Appeal

The Supreme Court has on 21st December 2016 announced its decision on the following permission to appeal application. This decision was made by a panel of three Supreme Court Justices following a review of the relevant written submissions.

Isle of Wight Council (Appellant) v Platt (Respondent) UKSC 2016/0155

On appeal from the QBD Administrative Court (England and Wales)

Permission for Isle of Wight Council to appeal was granted in a case relating to school attendance and holidays during term time.

The issue in this case was whether, in the event of an alleged failure by a parent over a specified period to ensure that their child attends school regularly (contrary to section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996), the child’s attendance outside the specified period is relevant to the question whether the offence has been committed.

The respondent requested permission to take his daughter out of school for a holiday. This request was refused by the daughter’s headteacher. The respondent took his daughter out of school on holiday for 7 days. As a result, he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in respect of the absence. The respondent did not pay the penalty of £60 by the initial deadline and so he was sent a further invoice for £120. The respondent did not pay this either and so he was prosecuted on the basis of his alleged failure to secure regular attendance at school of his daughter, contrary to section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. The respondent pleaded not guilty before the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court. The defence submitted that there was no case to answer as the respondent’s daughter had in fact attended school regularly. The attendance register showed her attendance at 92.3%.

The Magistrates’ Court held that the respondent’s daughter was a regular attender for the purposes of section 444(1), bearing in mind the daughter’s overall percentage attendance. Therefore, they ruled that there was no case to answer.

On appeal, the High Court agreed that the Magistrates’ Court was entitled to take into account attendance outside the offence dates when determining the attendance of the respondent’s daughter. The appellant sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal and the Court hopes to schedule the appeal hearing for a date in the first quarter of 2017.

The High Court judgment being appealed is available here:

The case has now been listed for 31 January 2017. Paradigm Family Law is watching the case with interest, and will provide updates as and when they become available.


For more details on this or any other family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James or Frank. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on 01904 217225 or email us to [email protected]. You can also follow us on twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest news and views on family law.