13 May 2016 By Danny Walker
A father who refused to pay £120 fine for taking his kids on holiday during term time has revealed legal fees of £13,000 will be ‘worth it’ if the ruling goes his way.
The landmark decision could take place later today if the High Court rules in favour of Jon Platt, the father who refused to pay the fine for taking his family on holiday during term time.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain earlier today Jon said it was not about the price of the holiday but about the principle.
It was revealed that for a family of four to take a break to Tenerife, Majorca, Costa Del Sol or Algarve, prices increase by up to 115%.
But Jon told Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway: “I was taking my kids on holiday and cost had nothing to do with it.
“For 10 years I’d been trying to get a window where all of the family could go away.”
Mr Platt explained that it didn’t matter what time they went as the cost was the same, adding: “We managed to get 15 of us [on the holiday] and the price was actually the same on the day we flew if we’d flown a week earlier.”
Ben quizzed the father on why he didn’t just accept the £120 fine as he knew the school’s policies.
“The local authority issued the fine as the head teacher had all discretion removed,” he replied, stating that the school had no say in the fines issued to the family.
“I haven’t committed a criminal offence, so I thought I’m not paying the fine. [We’re in court today] so we’ll see what happens.
“Either they drop it and it will go away – I’ve asked them to drop it – but now we’ve ended up in court.”
Kate Garraway then stressed that Jon could face costs of up to £25K and if more people took their kids out of school when they wanted there would be chaos.
“Well if the law requires 100% attendance then it would say that, it doesn’t. My kids have really good attendance.
“They’ve never had less than 93% attendance.”
Jon then revealed that he’s already spent £13K on legal fees.
Jon Platt has taken his daughter out of school for the second time
Jon was fined £60 by Isle of Wight Council after he took his six-year-old daughter out of school for a family trip to Walt Disney World.
The 44-year-old refused to pay up and after the fine was doubled, the issue went before the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court on October 12.
Mr Platt won the case after he successfully argued that Section 444 of the Education Act required parents to ensure their children attended school “regularly”, and did not put restrictions on taking them on holidays in term time.
He was fined again for taking his daughter to Lapland at Christmas – and has again refused to pay the fine.
The Isle of Wight Council has appealed the case, asking the High Court for clarification on the matter of law.
The ruling on Jon’s case is expected to come back at lunchtime today.
Viewers took to Twitter to wish Jon good luck, with one posting: “Goodluck Jon. children miss school if there Ill so what is the difference with holidays!! They catch up on there learning (sic).”
Another viewer added: “good luck today Jon. My son (has autism) can’t cope with holidaying in peak times but we’d still face the fine. Not fair.”
While another agreed that companies shouldn’t “hike up their prices”.
They tweeted: “Good luck Jon Platt. I work in a school and can’t afford holidays because even caravan parks here hike there prices up 50%”
Why parents are fighting schools
In 2013, the Government tightened rules in England and Wales on taking kids out during term time.
Parents must get advance permission from the school’s head teacher if they want to take a holiday, or risk a £60 fine. This can double to £120 if it is not paid on time.
In Scotland, there is no fixed fine for taking your kids out of school.
The law is designed to help schools enforce good attendance, but parents argue it’s not flexible enough.
One mum opposed the rules after facing £120 in fines for taking her sons to visit their dying grandmother in Egypt .
Another mum of four is refusing to pay the fine because she says different term dates would have forced her to leave her 10-year-old daughter behind .