Fund launched to challenge controversial truancy legislation

Jon Platt is leading a campaign to challenge the unauthorised absence ruling which he sees as “grossly unfair on parents”. He has also started a petition which has gained 15,364 signatures.

Money:

Thomas Clayton shares news of this new fund. Ed


A Just Giving crowdfunding page was set up by Jon Platt to fund The Parents Union – an organisation which is campaigning against controversial legislation

Jon Platt lost a landmark case in the Supreme Court in April after a long running legal dispute against the Isle of Wight Council over taking his daughter on a term-time holiday to Florida.

The father who has two daughters and a step-son, is leading a campaign to challenge the ruling which he sees as “grossly unfair on parents”. He has also started a petition which has gained 15,364 signatures.

Used for any unauthorised absence
Writing on his page, Jon said:

“When Parliament passed the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 which introduced penalty notices in respect of truancy, they were specifically told that Penalty Notices would only be used as a quick and inexpensive means to address truancy.

“Now they are being used for any unauthorised absence and the Supreme Court has now made it possible for any breach, however minor, to result in a penalty notice being issued.”

He continued:

“It is now possible for unexpected traffic on the school run to result in a ‘fine’ of hundreds of pounds being imposed on a struggling family, with no right to pay by instalments or have their ability to pay considered. This often causes terrible financial hardship.”

Jon added:

“There is no appeals process. If you don’t pay a Penalty Notice you get taken to Magistrates Court and get a criminal record. If this doesn’t stop we are going to see an unprecedented number of parents become criminalised by this legislation.”

Most committed offence in the UK
The campaigner stated:

“More than 300,000 parents have been fined to date. 8.5 million offences were committed in the Autumn term last year.

This is the most committed offence in the UK – more so than speeding.”

He added:

“A PCN should only be issued when children are truanting – the vast majority of PCNs issued are to parents whose children have not truanted.”

How to support
At the time of writing the JustGiving page had reached £3,322 of its £10,000 target, with 235 donations.

To support the Fund, please visit the Just Giving Page.

Image: Doug88888 under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 14th July, 2017 3:02pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2ft4

Filed under: Education, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Youth

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7 Comments

  1. I had this distinct impression that Mr Platt said that was the end of it.

    Please go away and get on with your life and leave us alone.

  2. I think Mr Platt needs to read the definition of truancy. the action of staying away from school without good reason. The courts have decided a trip to Disneylsnd is not a good reason ..time to move on Jon!

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed


      16.Jul.2017 10:41am

      You are incorrect. The problem is that this law and, particularly the new high court ruling, has now redefined the meaning of truancy as being any time, whatsoever, missed from school is now classed as truancy. Car breaks down on the way to school? Truant. Chain come off child’s bike on the way to school? Truant. 10 minutes late because alarm didn’t go off? Truant.

      And, of course, this only applies to children educated in state schools. Privately educated kids attendance is a matter for the school alone, and parents wealthy enough to send their kids to school can take their children out of school whenever they like without fear of gaining a criminal record.

      The other really bizarre thing about this law is that it only applies to your child while he/she is enrolled in a state school. There is absolutely nothing either the school or the Law can do if a parent takes their child out of school to be “home educated” for the duration of the holiday. There is, of course the problem of re-enrolling them afterwards but, as a school is legally obliged to take a child if they have vacancies, then the only state secondary school where this tactic is unlikely to work is Christ the King. All of the others are so undersubscribed that re-enrolling would be no problem. Fine avoided, massive amount of paperwork for the school.

      This is an idiot law, poorly thought out and socially decisive. The campaign is to see the law itself revised so that truancy actually means truancy.

  3. Suruk the SM for your info the law makes allowance for cars breaking down, chain coming off bicycle etc. Below is what the law says:

    (3)The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school—

    (a)with leave,

    (b)at any time when he was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause, or

    (c)on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs.

    And if a child is not being home educated to the correct standard, and it is inspected, the law can also cover it.
    I agree that the law does need to be worded better, which was wimped out on by the court, but you’re being just a little bit over dramatic.

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