Parents hoping to take their children on term-time holidays have been dealt a blow after the Department for Education vowed to take its fight to ban them all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Department for Education (DfE) has promised to fund further legal hearings to try and appeal a High Court ruling, which sided with a dad who took his daughter out of school on a term-time holiday.

In May the High Court ruled that magistrates were right to take into account the fact that Jon Platt's daughter had very high attendance generally, which led to them believing he had no case to answer.

For more on the rules in this area see our Can you take kids on term-time holidays without being fined? 60-second guide.

Martin Lewis
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How did the case end up at High Court?

In October 2015, Jon Platt successfully fought his fine in court, for taking his daughter out of school for six days without permission, by using the wording of the Education Act to argue he had no case to answer.

Mr Platt's daughter had very high attendance – 95% up to the holiday, and 90.3% immediately after it. In court Mr Platt and his solicitor argued he had complied with the Education Act because of his daughter's high attendance rate and this six-day period didn't go over a threshold of lack of regular attendance.

Isle of Wight Council took the matter to the High Court in a bid to seek "clarification".

But after it lost its case last month, the council said the High Court's ruling had "created massive uncertainty and cast a shadow of doubt over the policies of schools and local authorities across the country".

The council claims that the DfE had outlined what it considered to be "regular" attendance, which was that children should attend school every day, and it was under this assumption that it acted against Mr Platt.

What happens next?

Isle of Wight Council has said it will try to appeal the decision, following a request from the Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb.

It will ask the High Court for permission to appeal the ruling and, if refused, will take the case to the Supreme Court. The DfE will provide support and funding, and take the lead in it if the case is heard before one of the courts.

Isle of Wight council leader Jonathan Bacon says: "Our initial response was not to expend further Isle of Wight Council money on pursuing an appeal.

"However, as a result of the formal request from the minister, the local and national importance of this issue and the DfE's commitment to cover all the costs of the appeal and contribute to the council's previous costs, we have decided to lodge an appeal in order to resolve the issue for all."

Government to fund appeal of term-time holidays High Court ruling
Jon Platt took his six-year-old daughter to Florida during term time

Mr Platt has vowed to fight the appeal, saying he has been left with little choice. He described the potential costs as "frightening".

He says: "I am absolutely gobsmacked. The Isle of Wight Council lost this case at High Court in the most overwhelming fashion, it was embarrassing.

"I think the High Court will say no, 'on your bike', and they will ask the Supreme Court. I very much hope the Supreme Court disposes of this very, very quickly."

What does this mean for parents?

Today's announcement has created even more confusion for parents and the councils which issue term-time holiday fines.

Following the High Court ruling some councils had temporarily stopped issuing fines while they awaited further guidance from the DfE, and some parents felt they were able to book term-time holidays.

Many parents do seem to want the chance to take children on term-time holidays, with 79% of those who voted in our most recent poll saying term-time holidays should be allowed.

But even if the High Court doesn't give permission to appeal, the DfE has said it will fund a Supreme Court case, so it seems the uncertainty will continue for the foreseeable future.

To find out more about the issue, see our Can you take kids on term-time holidays without being fined? 60-second guide.

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