On 13 May the first case was heard in the High Court regarding a prosecution case following a holiday taken in term time.
Magistrates ruled that there was no case to answer as there was no evidence of irregular attendance.
In the commons this week, Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, was questioned by the MP for St Austell and Newquay, who raised the high standards of attainment by pupils who had been on a term-time holiday. He said that holidays widen experience and knowledge of the world and that a term-time ban on holidays would significantly impact on English tourism.
Nick Gibb will wait for a written judgement from the High Court before laying out his next steps, but he did reveal that he regards the judgement as a threat to one of the government’s biggest achievements and would support headteachers to keep pupils in school, maintaining high standards of attainment and re-enforcing the message that school is important. One solution he urged, is for schools and academies to club together and change their term and holiday dates.
Evidence shows a direct correlation between academic achievement and attendance at school. Even taking a week off at secondary school can have a significant impact on a pupil's grades.
This decision could encourage more parents to challenge previous court action taken against them, as well as schools questioning the benefit of issuing penalty notices based on unauthorised holidays during term time. Until guidelines, and possibly legislation, are reviewed and clarified, the term ‘regular attendance’ remains open to interpretation and challenge.
If you have any questions about the law around holidays in term-time contact One Education’s Attendance Team.