The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, govern all requests for leave within term-time. When considering such requests for a leave of absence, the school are obliged to act within the law.
The amended regulations removed references to ‘holiday’ and ‘extended leave’, as well as the statutory threshold of 10 school days. It is now clear that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application. If the leave is granted, head teachers are able to determine the number of school days a child can be absent for.
The Government has not defined ‘exceptional circumstances’ as referred to in the 2013 regulations. It is for the Head Teacher to decide what he/she views as ‘exceptional’ and it is at their discretion if the circumstances warrant the leave to be granted.
Leave of absence which is taken for the following reasons will not be authorised:
- Availability of cheaper holidays.
- Availability of desired accommodation.
- Poor weather experienced in school holidays.
- Overlap with beginning or end of term.
- Booked the wrong dates by mistake.
- Booked by another family member.
- Attending a wedding that is not immediate family.
- Family birthdays.
- Unable to take a holiday in school holidays due to work commitments.
The school can only consider Leave of Absence requests which are made by the ‘resident’ parent.Each application for a leave of absence will be considered on a case by case basis and on its own merits. Where applications for leave of absence are made in advance and refused, the child will be required to be in school on the dates set out in the application. If the child is absent during that period, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence, which may result in legal action being taken against the parent(s), by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Failure to make an application for leave in advance can also result in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued to the parent(s).
All matters of unauthorised absence relating to a Leave of Absence will be referred to the Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement Service of Warwickshire County Council.
It is important to note: Fixed Penalty Notices are issued to each parent of each absent child, (for example 2 children and 2 parents, means each parent will receive 2 invoices in the amount of £120 each, totalling £240 for both children, this is reduced to £60 per child if paid within 21 days).
Where a Fixed Penalty Notice is not paid within the required timeframe as set out on the notice, the matter will be referred to Warwickshire County Council’s Legal Services to consider instigating criminal proceedings under S444 Education Act 1996. Fixed Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with Warwickshire County Council’s Code of Conduct for Penalty Notices.
Attendance for 2015-16 was 97.0% which once again is high, but we can still do better. We are keen to improve this as children’s learning can suffer if they are not in school. We greatly appreciate parental support to reduce the total amount of days lost due to holidays. We are committed to working in partnership with you to enable your child to reach their academic targets and to support their social development. For this to happen we need to keep individual attendance as high as possible – we all need to play our part.
Late arrivals at school affect the attendance data but more importantly contribute to children’s anxiety levels because no child enjoys being late for school and walking into class when the resister has already been taken and learning is underway. Can I remind everyone please that children should arrive between 8.45am and 8.55am. Registration takes place at 8.55am and registers are ‘closed’ at 9.25am. Children arriving late after this time are recorded as having unauthorised absence.
THE SCHOOL TARGET THIS YEAR IS 97.5% ATTENDANCE FOR EVERY PUPIL.
WE MET OUR TARGET OF 97.0% IN 2015-16.
ATTENDANCE WAS 96.1% in 2014-15, SO WE ARE IMPROVING.