Education Act prosecutions

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The recent prosecution of a doctor by the local education authority demonstrates the removal of the discretion that Head teachers used to enjoy in allowing additional leave for children, one of the controversial and unpopular policies introduced by the former Education secretary Michael Gove. It is also a warning to parents about the strict interpretation of the law relating to penalty notices, which were introduced as an alternative to prosecution. Nicholas Dearing who acted for the defendant in this case said ” on the face of it the defendant appeared to have a good reason for failing to return her child to school following a holiday, due to a family illness. However the local authority adopted a hard line stance and pursued a prosecution. This perhaps serves as a timely reminder to parents considering a holiday over the christmas period who do not return their child to school on the due date”.