What’s the ****’s going on in Britain these days? Parents take their kid on a five day holiday to Spain in May and are fined 60-quid by the local education authority? I’d tell them to go to hell. Surely, the law (whatever it is) is meant to apply to parents who fail to send their kids to school without a valid reason, not because the kid has a chance to visit a foreign country for a few days and enjoy themselves in the process.
Dear god, when we were kids my folks would often take a holiday in term time. They’d notify the headmaster we’d be away between certain dates, and that was that. No one even suggested it was wrong., and definitely not against any law. Parents had the final say, because – as Catherine Flint of Queen Square Chambers informs us:
Prior to 2013 the regulations governing school absences referred to parents applying for family holidays in ‘special circumstances’ and schools having a discretion to grant up to 10 days’ holiday per year.
So, what’s the problem Catherine? Why the sixty quid fine?
This changed with the introduction of The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 No. 757. Now leave of absence during term time shall not be granted unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. This has led to more unauthorised absences and an increase in parents being fined by way of penalty notices
So ‘special circumstances’ included holidays taken in term time, but ‘exceptional circumstances’ does not.
What a load of bollocks! I’m getting totally sick of half-baked authority telling people they can’t do this, or mustn’t do that. Britain’s fast turning into a police state.
You can bet your last euro that if Lord Bloody Asshole decided to take his son out of Harrow or Eton, for a week at Asshole Villas in the Bermudas, the local authority wouldn’t be rushing to chase him for sixty quid. Laws for the poor and none for the rich.
But can’t a family holiday be classed as an ‘exceptional circumstance’? Apparently not, since the earlier case of a Mister Platt who, in true British tradition, steadfastly refused to pay the fine imposed and was summoned to appear before the magistrates.
Section 444(1A) [of the Act] goes on to state [that] If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence. Mr Platt was prosecuted under the less serious section 444(1), prosecutions under (1A) usually being reserved for cases of persistent truancy. His case turned on the definition of “regularly”. His argument was that as his daughter had 90.3 percent attendance, and as the local authority’s policy on satisfactory attendance was between 90 – 95 percent, she had not failed to attend school regularly. The magistrates agreed and found there was no case to answer.
So, end of story? No, I thought not:
The local authority appealed by way of case stated and in June 2016 the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division held that “[a] child’s attendance outside the specified period is relevant to the question whether the offence has been committed.” The local authority appealed to the Supreme Court and judgment being handed down on 6 April 2017.
In her judgment, Lady Hale DP declared that for the purposes of section 444 “regularly” means “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”. Therefore, any unauthorised absence is a criminal offence.
I’ll just bet Lady Hale DP (or to give her her full title, “The Right Honourable The Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE PC FBA) is mates with The Right Honorable Lord Bloody Asshole and his son, The Right Honorable Master Bloody Asshole of Harrow School.
‘Right Honorable’, indeed! Who are they kidding? That shower are about as honorable as a pair of pickpockets working Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon.
Surely it’s time for a Peasant’s Revolt?
 “Dad ‘marks’ schools boss’s holiday fine letter” BBC, August 10th 2018
 “Another Brick in the Wall: Section 444 of the Education Act 1996” Catherine Flint, Queen Square Chambers, Undated