Isle of Wight Council v Platt – a case commentary
On 6th April 2017 the Supreme Court delivered judgement in this widely publicised appeal against the decision of the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of 13th May 2016. Lady Hale provided the leading judgement, which was agreed by Lords Neuberger, Mance, Reed and Hughes.
The decision is of importance to local authorities, schools and parents across England and Wales because it clarifies the meaning of regular school attendance.
Parents may be prosecuted under section 444 of the Education Act 1996 for failing to ensure regular attendance. Prior to this decision uncertainty existed around the correct interpretation of the word “regularly” in this context. As will be seen, the Supreme Court has concluded that the term means in accordance with the school’s rules. The consequence of this decision is that there is now greater certainty in this area. The decision emphasises the importance of ensuring regular school attendance, which is the responsibility of parents, and it will reduce the ability of parents to avoid conviction if prosecuted for failing to ensure regular attendance caused by unauthorised absence including by reason of term-time holidays.
Barrister Alex Line has analysed the case and provides a full summary here. Alex is a civil practitioner whose practice is focused particularly on the areas of education, social welfare, court of protection, public law, employment and discrimination.
Barristers: Alexander Line
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