‘Prepare for the worst’, school holidays campaigner warns the trade

The dad at the centre of a Supreme Court case into term-time holidays has told the travel industry “to prepare for the worst”.

Following Tuesday’s case at the country’s highest court, Platt admitted he was not confident about the outcome.

He said: “A huge part of me wants to grasp at straws but I would be a fool if I said I had any confidence. I am not at all convinced the judgement will go our way.”

Platt went as far as warning parents currently planning term-time holidays not to book until the judgement is announced, adding the travel industry would be hardest hit if parents were forced to cancel travel plans because they could not afford to go away in school holidays due to higher prices.

“If you have booked a holiday [in term-time] you may not be able to take it. Parents will not be able to risk criminal liability by going on holiday in term-time,” he argued. “The travel industry will bear the brunt of this if parents are simply not able to go on holiday in term-time.”

Platt won his original case against the Isle of Wight council when he refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on holiday to Florida during term-time. An appeal by the council at the High Court also found in his favour.

The council was backed by the Department for Education to take the case to a final appeal at the Supreme Court.

It is not known when the court’s decision will be announced but Platt admitted his “gut instinct” was that the judges did not agree with his interpretation of “regular attendance” at school, the argument at the centre of the case.

Platt won his previous cases based on the argument that his daughter had a good, regular attendance record despite going on holiday.

During the case, Platt’s lawyers argued parents would be “criminalised” on an unprecedented scale if the earlier ruling is reversed.

But the Isle of Wight’s QC Martin Chamberlain said an absence of seven consecutive days could not be seen as “regular attendance”.

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