Sandown businessman, Jon Platt, has not only made national news with a landmark court case over school absence fines, but he’s now being hailed as a national hero by parents across the country.
Last Monday, Jon Platt was told by Magistrates that he had no case to answer after being taken to court by the Isle of Wight council for non-payment of a £60 fine.
Fought the fine on principle
The fine was issued after Jon took his six year old daughter out of school for six days to be part of a 17-strong family holiday in Florida last April.
The school’s headteacher had refused to give authorised absence and rather than pay the mandatory fine of £60 (which rose to £120 on non-payment), Jon chose, on principle, to spend over £1,000 to fight the claim in court.
No laws broken
Jon’s lawyer had argued that the law requires parents to ensure their children attend school “regularly” and as Mr Platt’s daughter had a nearly 94% attendance rate, she easily met the criteria.
Following the court’s decision Jon said,
“To all those parents thinking about taking their kids on holiday I say this – they are your kids. Their education is very, very important, but it does not trump everything else and Parliament did not intend to nor did it, make it a criminal offence to take your kids on holiday in term time.
“If your kids are doing well in school and their attendance is at or above 90%, you have nothing to fear from section 444 of the Education Act 1996.”
At the time of the ruling, Jon said the council’s lawyers had indicated they would take the case to the High Court. As the council is cash strapped, Jon criticised this decision and the council have since said they are “reviewing the court’s decision”.
In the last week Jon has appeared on BBC South Today, Sky News, BBC Breakfast and tonight will be on your screens for Meridian Tonight (6pm) and tomorrow on This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
We’re sure this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from Jon Platt.