In accordance with 2006 Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations Head Teachers may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Therefore parents are advised to assume that any absence will be considered to be unauthorised unless there is a valid reason otherwise. All periods of absence, whether subsequently authorised or unauthorised should be notified to the school in writing or by email. If a period of absence can be foreseen, parent(s)/carer(s) should apply for leave of absence in advance by putting the request in writing/email to either the Achievement Leader for up to 2 days, or to the Head Teacher for absences of 3 days or more. All medical appointments must be confirmed by a letter or appointment card before the appointment date for the absence to be authorised. An absence which the school could not have been advised of in advance should be notified to school on the day in question unless, exceptionally, there is a good reason why this cannot not be done. The absence will not be authorised without such notification.
Holidays in Term Time – Information for Parents
Time is lost each year as a result of parents taking their children out of school in order to go on family holidays. Schools are understandably keen to reduce the amount of time lost in this way and expect parents to take their holidays when school is closed.
What the law says:
As a parent you do not have any legal right or entitlement to take your child out of school in order to go on a family holiday during term-time and you should not as a rule expect any leave requested to be granted. The relevant regulations were amended to remove the discretions head teachers previously had to grant leave for term-time holidays in special circumstances. The regulations now state that head teachers may only grant any leave of absence during term-time if there are exceptional circumstances.
How school responds to requests for family holidays during term-time:
If you request leave you must be able to demonstrate that the circumstances are exceptional. The following are examples of what are NOT considered exceptional circumstances:
- The availability of cheap holidays
- The availability of desired accommodation
- An overlap with the beginning/end of term
- You have not previously requested term-time leave
If you make a request for leave to go on a family holiday during term-time the school will consider the nature of any exceptional circumstances. If you take your child out of school for a family holiday without the school’s prior authorisation the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and noted in your child’s school records. Similarly if your child goes on a family holiday which has been authorised by the school and fails to return by the agreed date, any extra time absent from school will be counted as unauthorised. If your child fails to return within 10 days of the expected date of return then we may remove your child from the school roll and notify Calderdale LA accordingly.
If your child is absent from school for 3 days or more (or when individual periods of absence reach 3 days) on a family holiday without authorisation, the school may make a referral to Calderdale LA for the issue of a Penalty Notice. This is a fine of £60 which, if not paid within 21 days, rises to £120. If you are issued with a Penalty Notice and you fail to pay it within 28 days you will be prosecuted in court.
What parents can do:
You should avoid if at all possible making a request for a family holiday during term-time. You should especially avoid requesting leave:
- Close to or during examinations/tests
- When important work/activity which cannot be repeated is taking place
- During the first week of term or when your child is transferring from one phase to another
- During the first year in a new school
If this proves to be absolutely unavoidable you should make your request as early as possible before the time of the holiday, but you should not expect the school to grant your request for leave unless the circumstances are exceptional. If school does agree to the request you must ask you child to speak to his/her subject teachers with regard to any work he/she will need to catch up on. It is important to remember that by taking your child out of school during term-time you may be giving him/her and unspoken message that school is not important.
Examples of authorised absence
- Religious observation days. The school allows a maximum of 2 days
- Wedding of a close family member
- Hospital/medical appointments – these must be supported by production of an appointment card/letter
- Visits to University either to attend an open day or for interview, or a career related interview with prior approval from the Assistant Head (Post 16) and subject staff
- Attendance at courses / events organised by school / college / other providers
- Work experience placement which is an integral part of a course and for which the student does not receive a wage
- Bereavement leave
- Severe disruption to a student’s mode of transport, for example a breakdown in public transport
- Driving test and written exam with evidence
Examples of unauthorised absence
- Family holidays in term time
- Leisure activities
- Birthdays or similar celebrations
- Babysitting for younger siblings
- Part or full time work which is not part of the student’s programme of study
- Driving lessons
- Hair and beauty appointments