Special Leave and Term Time Holidays

Special Leave and Term Time Holidays

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. If they fail to do this they are guilty of an offence and may be given a penalty notice or prosecuted under section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

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 Governing Body have instructed that authorisation for absence will not be given for absence during term time. Holidays should be taken during the school breaks and not during term time. However, in exceptional circumstances, permission may be given by the Head of School.

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 extenuating circumstances. In most cases the Head of School 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

Selsdon Primary has a very strict policy about term time holidays. Our policy since 2007 is to refuse all applications for holidays during term time. As a school, we are no longer prepared to accept that our children will miss out on their education due to absence during term time. Children are at school for 190 days in the year. That leaves 175 days for holidays and other trips.

How to apply for special leave during term time

Please ask one of the office staff for a Special Leave Form.  This must be done at least 2 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 which might justify it. Each case will be considered on its individual merits

What are exceptional circumstances?

It is the decision of the Head of School 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 and/or holidays
  • Availability of desired accommodation
  • Parent/carer work commitments
  • Poor weather experienced during school holiday periods
  • 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 Head of School has not authorised the leave, and your child is out of school for between half a day and 10 days then you will receive a minimum fine of £60 per child. If your child remains out of school for more than 10 days then you risk losing your child’s place.

If the time out school makes your child’s attendance drop below 90%, then they are known as ‘persistently absent’. This means that the Government have given schools new powers to deal with this through the courts. This means facing possible prosecution.

Please don’t take your child out of school during term time, it disrupts your child’s learning and you risk financial penalties.

If we authorise your special leave

If we do authorise a special leave of absence under exceptional circumstances, you must understand the educational impact upon your child. We will also explain what work your child will miss at school, and agree with you how this may be addressed, either during the holiday or upon your return. Taking work with you on special leave is no substitute for classroom teaching.

If we do authorise your leave you will receive a signed Special Leave 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 Head of School. A copy will be kept in the file in the office for our records.

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