Parent loses term-time holiday legal challenge – Friday 7 April 2017

This week I report on the parent from the Isle of Wight who’s lost his case in the Supreme Court allowing him to take his child on holiday during term-time, new rules requiring schools with more than 250 workers to publish their gender pay gap statistics have come into force and the DfE has published a form that new Chairs of Trustees of academies, free schools and independent schools must complete in conjunction with their DBS application.

Parent loses landmark term-time holiday legal challenge
Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the Isle of Wight Council’s right to fine a father who took his daughter out of school to go on holiday to Florida in April 2015.  The decision overrules the High Court decision and Isle of Wight magistrate’s court, which both ruled in the father’s favour.

Mr Platt had argued that because his daughter still had a 90.3% attendance record, even when she returned from their seven-day holiday to Disneyland, he had not broken rules requiring his child have “regular attendance” at school.  However, the five judges ruled unanimously that regular attendance at school had to follow the rules of the school.  They found that attending “regularly” must mean in accordance with the rules set by the school or the “appropriate authorities” such as a council.  The Department of Education (DfE) welcomed the ruling and had covered the Isle of Wight Council’s costs for the case.

Schools now have 12 months to publish gender pay gap statistics
New rules requiring academy trusts and schools with more than 250 workers to publish their gender pay gap statistics came into force yesterday. Employers that fall under the new requirement have until April next year to publish figures on their websites, as part of a Government pledge to champion gender equality.  Statistics will then have to be published every year thereafter.

Mandatory figures for reporting include the median and mean gender pay gap, the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure, and pay gaps in any bonuses paid out during the year. Employers will also be encouraged to publish an action plan alongside their figures showing how they will close any pay gap.

Completion of an identity verification form for new Chairs of Trustees for academies, free schools and independent schools now required
On Wednesday, the DfE published a form that new Chairs of Trustees of academies, free schools and independent schools must now complete in conjunction with their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application.

They are required to complete the new form and take it to one of an approved list of professionals to verify their identity and then must submit it along with their DBS application form to the DfE. It is not yet clear how that process will work if an on-line DBS application is usually applied for.