Taking Children out of School in Term Time
Amendments to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 came into force on 1 September 2013. These amendments make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be absent from school should the leave be considered as exceptional circumstances and be granted.
Following guidance from North Somerset Local Authority and to create a consistent approach for schools, the following reasons may support an application for absence in term time:
- Forces Personnel home from a foreign posting;
- A significant family event or circumstance (such as a weekday family wedding) - each case would be considered individually. Where the event is a weekday family wedding, only the day of the wedding will be agreed.
[By definition, exceptional circumstances do not occur regularly or often.]
Parents/Carers are required to complete a ‘Request for Leave of Absence Form' providing a clear reason for the request for absence during term time. This should be done well in advance of the requested date and before any holiday booking takes place. Leave for exceptional reasons will not be granted if a child’s current and/or previous year’s attendance is below the school target of 96%.
If absence is taken without permission from the Headteacher, this will be recorded as unauthorised in the school register and on the school attendance computerised records. A referral may be made to the Education Welfare Service together with a request for the Education Welfare Service to issue a Penalty Notice.
Penalty notices can be issued by North Somerset Education Welfare Service to each parent who fails to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school or fails to ensure that their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion.
The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 introduce changes to the procedures for issuing penalty notices with effect from 1 September 2013. The amendments reduce the timescale for paying a penalty notice from 28 days to 21 days (£60 initial penalty notice), and from 42 days to 28 days where the initial fine has not been paid (penalty increased to £120). This allows local authorities to act faster on prosecutions.
- Each parent can be issued with a penalty notice of £60 for each child for unauthorised absence if paid within 21 days, or £120 for each child if paid within 28 days.
- Non-payment will result in the Education Welfare Service considering prosecution.
We believe every child has the right to an effective education and this can only be achieved through the partnership of the home and the school. As part of this effective education we are committed to helping every family to achieve the best attendance at school for their child that is possible.