William Eichler 03 May 2016

Term-time absence case thrown out by court

In a landmark ruling, a magistrate has thrown out cases brought against parents who took their children out of school during term-time.

Swindon Borough Council took two couples to court after local council welfare officers accused them of failing to secure regular attendance for their children.

A change in the law in September 2013 means parents are not permitted to take their children out of school during term-time for a holiday.

The new legislation led to an increase of council fines relating to children's attendance level.

Research by the BBC found in the year following the new law, local authorities imposed 70% more fines on parents for children's poor school attendance.

The Swindon court ruled there is no legal benchmark for what constitutes 'persistent' absence, and so dismissed the case.

Swindon Borough Council spokesperson said: 'The verdict has only just been delivered, and we are now considering our options.

'We have a responsibility to make sure that children get the best education they can, and attendance at school is a vitally important part of that.'

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