It is a legal requirement for children to attend school. High attendance leads to high achievement. From 1 September 2013 legislation prohibits any school from authorising leave of absence for holidays except in exceptional circumstances. Amendments have been made to the 2006 regulations in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. These amendments, as described below, came into force on 1 September 2013.
It is therefore illegal to take children out of school for holidays during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. There is no entitlement to any leave of absence for a holiday during term time. Schools are in session for 39 weeks per year, so there are opportunities to take children on holiday during the remaining 13 weeks.
Criteria for Exceptional Circumstances
It is not possible to define exceptional circumstances, but examples of what might be considered as such are:
Where it is company/organisational policy for an employee to take leave at a specified time in the year and there is no opportunity for a family holiday in school holidays. This must be supported by documentary evidence from the organisation
Service personnel returning from/scheduled to embark upon a tour of duty abroad
To attend religious festivals or services such as the wedding or funeral of an immediate family member
Where a holiday is recommended as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue. Evidence must be provided, from qualified professionals, such as a doctor
Where there are other factors which the Headteacher may consider to be exceptional circumstances, this may be referred to the Local Authority for advice
Consequences of taking an Unauthorised Holiday
Taking a holiday without authorisation will have an impact on a child’s learning. Parents who choose to take an unauthorised holiday must accept that this will have an adverse effect on their child’s educational achievement. The school will therefore ask the Local Authority to issue a fixed penalty fine where an unauthorised holiday has been taken.
A penalty fine is now £60 per parent per child. Amendments to the 2007 regulations will reduce the timescales for paying a penalty notice. Parents must, from 1 September 2013, pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. Fines will be invoiced by the Local Education Authority. The fixed penalty fine is collected and kept by the Local Authority, not the school.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances a fixed penalty fine will be issued:
a. When the holiday absence causes the child’s attendance to fall below 90% in the previous calendar year.
b. When there has been a previous unauthorised holiday(s) in the same academic year of 5 or more days.
Please click this link for a holiday request form.