Requesting pre-planned term time absence
Guidance and legislation for headteachers, issued by the Department for Education (DfE), on 'in term holidays' were changed in 2013.
Parents are legally responsible for ensuring their children receive education in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 and if on a school roll that they regularly attend school.
"Can the Headteacher authorise my holiday?"
The Headteacher cannot, and will not, authorise school absence solely for the purpose of a family holiday. There may be many reasons for which a family may wish to plan a holiday in term time, including restrictions at work or financial opportunities. However, these do not over ride the constraints placed on Headteachers not to authorise ‘family holidays’.
"I want to take my child out of school at term time, and I think my reasons are exceptional. Can the school help?"
There is a discretionary power held by Headteachers to authorise absence in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Although the DfE do not define what all ‘exceptional’, circumstances are and this is at the discretion of the Headteacher/Governing Body.
Please note: a family holiday is not an exceptional circumstance. We advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from the school first.
If a request meets the exceptional circumstances but falls within the following times, the Headteacher must be convinced that absence from school is the only option:
1) The first half term of any academic year (applies to all pupils)
2) Year six transition day (for pupils in year six only)
3) SATs week (for pupils in year two and year six)
4) At any time other time specified by the school which is identified to parents prior to application.
NOTE: Attendance records taken for a pupil over a 12 month rolling period, that falls below 95%, may result in an absence request being refused.
"How long will I be given under exceptional circumstances?"
Exceptional circumstances can only be authorised for the period in which the exceptional circumstance occurs and will not be extended beyond the minimum time required to attend. For example, the attendance at a funeral of a close family member may be authorised for the day of the event and time taken to travel. Any other time, before or after the event, will not be authorised. This includes events ‘overseas’.
"What else may impact on authorisation?"
The Headteacher will not authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a child’s education or if they have concerns that attendance is already a concern.
"I forgot to inform the school that my child would be absent, can it be authorised on return?"
The Headteacher will not retrospectively authorise absence from school.
"What else do I need to know?"
If your request is authorised, you are required to ensure your child catches up on any missed school work.
This is your responsibility and school are not obliged to provide work for your child to complete under such circumstances
"What happens if I either take absence without requesting it, or if I do not abide by the judgment of the school?"
Any unauthorised absence will be recorded on your child’s attendance records which will be submitted to the Local Authority. This may result in legal proceedings against you, either through a Penalty Notice or the Magistrates’ Court.
"How do I apply for Exceptional Circumstances / in term absence?"
If you feel you have an exceptional circumstance you must complete an ‘Exceptional Circumstances – In term absence request’ from, which will be reviewed by the Headteacher. In addition, you may also be required speak to the Headteacher.
Note: You may be requested to provide evidence to support your application.