Re : Leave of Absence for Holidays in Term-Time
We are writing to you to inform you of some recent changes made by the Department for Education which will impact on the way in which any requests for leave of absence for holidays in term-time will be dealt with. These changes come into effect from September 2013 and apply nationally.
The Department for Education intends that this new guidance should further reduce the amount of time children lose to holidays in term-time.
The ability of Head teachers to authorise up to ten days absence for a holiday in term-time has now been removed by the Government.
The Government amendments make it clear that Head teachers must not grant any leave of absence during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Previously, the Department for Education has said that holidays should not be authorised on grounds of:
• cost or availability of a particular holiday
• it overlaps the start or end of a school term
• the weather at a particular time of year
This has now been extended to all requests for leave of absence that are not exceptional. We anticipate that there will be very few requests for leave of absence in term time that will be exceptional and therefore most requests for leave of absence will be declined and so marked as unauthorised.
The Local Authority have asked schools to reiterate to parents that they may be fined for taking their child on holiday during term-time without consent from the school. In such cases parents may be issued with a fixed penalty notice. A fixed penalty notice can require a parent to pay a sum of either £60 or £120. Each parent can be issued with a notice for each child so two parents with two children can potentially be issued with four notices.
Penalty Notices apply to any parent who fails to ensure the regular attendance of their child who is of compulsory school age (5 to 16). However, any leave of absence for Nursery pupils and other pupils under the age of 5 years can be classed as unauthorised as well.
If you do feel that there are exceptional circumstances requiring school absence, please discuss your request with the Headteacher or email the Education Welfare Service – firstname.lastname@example.org. (Tel: 01482 392146)
Should you have any queries with regard to the new Department for Education directive please contact the school or the Education Welfare Service as per the contact details above.