Leave of Absence in Term Time

Information for parents and carers about taking their children out of school during term time

Introduction

By law, parents and carers of children registered at school are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school regularly.

Children should attend school every day so that they make the most of the education available to them. We understand that there may be occasions when a child is unwell and is not able to come in to school, but this should be kept to a minimum.

Parents and carers must avoid taking their children out of school during term time.

The Headteacher cannot authorise holiday absences. Holidays should be taken during the school breaks and not during term time. However, in exceptional circumstances only, permission may be given.

The Law

Amendments to the 2006 Education Act make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

It is clear that parents and carers do not have any right to take a child out of school during term time except in the exceptional circumstances. In most cases the Headteacher will refuse to authorise term time leave, however, each case will be considered on its individual merits.

How we deal with requests for term-time absence

We have a strict policy about term time holidays. Our policy is to refuse all applications for holidays during term time.  Children are at school for 190 days in the year which leaves 175 days for holidays and other trips.

How to apply for special leave during term time

Please contact the school office for a request for absence form and return it to us with as much notice as possible, but at least two weeks in advance of the date of the proposed leave. You should expect to hear from us within 5 working days. Term time holidays will NOT BE AUTHORISED unless there are exceptional circumstances and each case will be considered on its individual merits

What are exceptional circumstances?

It is the decision of the Headteacher as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances and each request for term time leave will be considered on an individual basis.

Exceptional leave is NOT:

  • Availability of cheap flights/holidays/accommodation
  • Parent/carer work commitments
  • Overlap with the beginning or end of term, half term.

Exceptional leave MAY be:

  • Grandparent or other close relative is seriously ill – and you must leave in an emergency
  • Significant trauma in the family recently and a holiday will benefit the child – this must be backed up by a doctor’s letter
  • A one-off, never to be repeated occasion that can only happen at that time, eg family wedding/funeral.

What if we decide to go anyway?

If the Headteacher has not authorised the leave, and your child is out of school for between half a day and 10 days then you may receive a fine.  In extreme circumstances further penalties may be imposed by courts.

If the time out of school makes your child’s attendance drop below 90%, then their attendance level is categorised as ‘persistently absent’. This means that we will strive to work with you in order to raise your child’s attendance to above 90%.

Please avoid taking your child out of school during term time, as it disrupts your child’s learning and you risk financial penalties.

If we authorise your special leave

If we do authorise a leave of absence under exceptional circumstances, you must understand the educational impact upon your child.  Taking work with you on special leave is no substitute for classroom teaching.

If we do authorise your leave you will receive a copy of the signed form which confirms the dates when your child will be absent and the agreed date for return. It can only be signed only by the Headteacher. A copy will be kept in the file in the office for our records.

It is important that children develop good habits of attendance and punctuality.  Absence and late arrival at school should not occur without good reason.

Children are expected to be in attendance for every session of school during the school year unless a valid reason for absence, in accordance with Statute, is offered, e.g. medical or bereavement.

Please ensure you contact the school by telephone on the first morning of absence and also ensure your child returns from absence with an explanatory note for our records. The school is obliged by law to follow up on any child who is absent from school without explanation or if the explanation for an absence in not adequate.  If school is not informed of the reason for absence by 10:30am, and contact with parents has not been successful, a home visit will be made.

All dental and medical appointments should be avoided, if possible, during the school day.  If a child needs to leave school early to visit an emergency dental appointment or a clinic, it is important that the school is informed and an appointment card shown to office staff. Children must be collected from school by an authorised adult.

Please see the links below for further information:

Children Missing Education – Information & Procedure

School Attendance Matters