Northern Ireland dad who took daughter to Disney World during term-time loses court battle

A father from Northern Ireland has said he is “not at all surprised” to have lost a Supreme Court battle over taking his daughter on holiday during school term-time.

After this morning’s ruling which overturned a High Court dismissal Mr Platt said that schools now need to think “very carefully” about absence rules.

Jon Platt arrives at the Supreme Court in central London with his wife Sally. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Jon Platt arrives at the Supreme Court in central London with his wife Sally. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

In April 2015, the businessman took his daughter out of her school on the Isle of Wight without permission for a seven-day trip to Disney World, Florida.

He was fined for doing so and later prosecuted by the Isle of Wight council for refusing to pay the £120 penalty.

But local magistrates found there was no case to answer, and the council took its case to the High Court in London.

At the High Court hearing last year, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mrs Justice Thirlwall dismissed the council’s renewed challenge and said the magistrates were entitled to take into account the “wider picture” of the child’s attendance record outside of the dates she was absent for the holiday.

The two judges upheld the magistrates’ decision and declared Mr Platt was not acting unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record of over 90%.

The case did not finish here, the Isle of Wight council appealed to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, with the backing of the government.

This morning the Supreme Court upheld the challenge, overturning the High Court’s decision.

Mr Platt’s case must now return to the magistrates’ court.