Taking a child out of school for a week to go on holiday is unlawful, education chiefs have claimed in the latest court battle affecting many families.
Dad Jon Platt prompted a surge in term-time bookings by persuading the High Court last year that he did not deserve a £120 fine for flying his daughter to Disney World.
However, his local council and education secretary Justine Greening appealed yesterday to the Supreme Court, claiming it would be ‘absurd’ if pupils could take trips ‘whenever foreign climes beckon’.
James Eadie QC, representing Ms Greening, said: ‘Absence from school can adversely affect a child’s educational attainment.
Research indicates every extra day missed is associated with a lower attainment outcome’.
Mr Platt, of Isle of Wight, won his case last year as judges ruled the 7-day Florida trip did not make him guilty of failing to ensure his child attended school regularly.
His daughter had an attendance record of more than 90 per cent.
However, Mr Eadie argued letting children take term-time holidays was unfair on teachers who had to ensure they caught up on missed work. ‘Undermining the authority of the school is likely to be a thoroughly bad thing’, he added.
Martin Chamberlain QC, appearing for the council, argued regular attendance meant ‘at all times when required by the school rules’.
The five Supreme Court justices will announce their verdict in soon.
As he arrived at the hearing with wife Sally, Mr Platt said it would be ‘pretty draconian’ if regular attendance was judged to mean every day of the school year.