PARENTS across Hampshire could be allowed to take their children out of school in term time if a Supreme Court appeal is upheld.

Isle of Wight council took their case to the UK’s top court after the High Court ruled in favour of parent Jon Platt.

Mr Platt was prosecuted by the council for refusing to pay a £120 fine after taking his daughter to Disneyland in term time.

But in a landmark case the High Court said his daughter’s 92.3 per cent attendance record was good enough and he would not have to pay the fine.

The ruling led to a rise in the number of parents taking their children out of school without permission.

Now legal experts are saying it could force the government to rethink its policy and that the guidelines are unclear.

They want the Supreme Court to decide exactly what constitutes “regular attendance.”

Partner at Hampshire law firm Irwin Mitchell, Polly Sweeney said: “There needs to be much greater clarity on this issue for all concerned – in particular for head teachers and schools.”

But Hampshire education chiefs have said the introduction of the fines has resulted in an improvement in attendance.

Head of education at Hampshire County Council Peter Edgar said: “Education has changed. There is more and more pressure on pupils and teachers to succeed.

“There needs to be a national debate so that everyone understands what is expected. The most important thing is what is the best interest of the child.”

He added: “We will always do what is lawful. The fines have seen a drop in the number of absences.”

Southampton city council boss Darren Paffey also supports the fines but said the travel industry should be held to account for the spike in prices during school holidays.

He said: “A premium on those costs is fine, but two, three or four times the price is astronomical and I can see why parents are sometimes put in a position where they have to take that decision.”

He added: “I am in favour of anything that underlines the importance of attendance - but that’s not just the fines, it’s the curriculum, it’s engaging parents.

Cllr Paffey added that it would be “unhelpful” to remove the fines.

A statement issued by Southampton City Council said: “We want all children in Southampton to get a good education and the first step to achieving this is ensuring excellent school attendance.

"We set up the Southampton Attendance Action Group in 2015, chaired by heads from primary and secondary schools, to ensure we have a collaborative and consistent approach to reducing absence and to raise awareness of the benefits of high attendance.

“We have no blanket policy on issuing penalty notices but treat each case on its own merits. Head teachers consult with our Education Welfare and Legal services on whether an offence has been committed, with the key consideration of if issuing a penalty notice will help to improve the child’s attendance.

"We support head teachers efforts to enforce attendance rules, and do so in a way that is firm but fair. This approach is showing results, Southampton’s ranking for attendance and unauthorised absences has steadily improved since 2015.”

The result of the appeal is expected to be issued in around three months’ time.