Please contact the school if your child will be absent for any reason.
In September 2013 the DfE changed the guidance to Heads on term time leave.
“The education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, removed references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the notional threshold of ten school days. The amendments made clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist. The regulations also stated that head teachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted for ‘exceptional circumstances’. (NAHT 2014)”
The National Association of Head Teachers says “exceptional” is short, significant, unusual and unavoidable. (NAHT 2014)
Failure by a parent to ensure the regular school attendance of their school age child at the school on which they are on the roll is a criminal offence, and the Local Authority may put forwards a prosecution of the parents based on information in the school register.
An alternative more lenient action, where there has been no history of irregular attendance, is for the Head to request that a Penalty Notice is issued by the Local Authority.
A Penalty Notice is not a fine or a punishment; it gives a parent the opportunity to discharge their potential liability for the offence by payment of a fixed penalty within strict time limits.
There is no obligation on the parent to pay the Penalty and no sanction if they choose not to pay. Because of this there is no appeal to a Penalty Notice.
If a parent chooses not to take the opportunity offered by the Penalty Notice, then the Local Authority must put the matter in front of the Magistrates Court for them to decide if an offence has been committed and if a fine should be imposed. The parent has the right to go to trial if they wish. Costs and fines are likely to be considerably higher in that event.
Advice to parents who are unhappy when they receive a Penalty Notice for unauthorised term time leave:
Amendments to the 2006 regulations were made by the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 and came into force on 1 September 2013.
The amendments made it clear that Headteachers may only grant leave of absence during term time for exceptional circumstances. Any request for leave must be made in writing to the Headteacher in advance.
There is no formal definition offered for exceptional leave at present by the Department for Education. However, from discussion with the DfE and professional associations it is suggested that exceptional leave would be:
Somerset County Council (SCC) supports schools:
SCC cannot override a school’s decision not to authorise any term time leave.
Taking a child on holiday in term time interrupts the learning of the whole class and teachers have to spend time helping children catch up when they return. Parents should arrange holidays during the 13 week school holiday periods. Schools are open 190 days which leaves 175 days of the year for holidays.