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Absence From School
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 allowed Headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days leave per year. Headteachers could also grant extended leave for more than ten school days in exceptional circumstances. These regulations have now been amended and a new legal position established for next year.
All references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the previous statutory threshold of ten school days have now been removed from the regulations. The amendments make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The Government is determined to prevent families from taking their youngsters on holiday during term time and is making Headtachers accountable for this. At Honywood we continue to have a small but significant number of families who make applications for their youngsters to miss school so that family holidays can be taken. The reasons families give typically fall into three categories. Sometimes families are forced into a holiday during term time because the employer of one of the parents / carers will not allow a holiday during the school break. On fewer occasions, holidays are requested as a result of exceptional family events that could be viewed as ‘one-off’ events. However, the most common reason for families taking holidays during term time are the cost of holidays being so much greater during school breaks.
Under the new regulations, it is hard to see how we could authorise a holiday because it is cheaper during term time. It is less clear as to whether issues created by a parental employer could be regarded as exceptional and my current view is that these will need to be looked at on a case by case basis.
We aim to publish term dates two academic years in advance. Once established, these dates are shared through Honywood Gazette and are also published on our website, so that everyone can see where school terms begin and end. Can we ask that families continue to give a very high level of consideration to any requests you may make to take family holidays during term time, ensuring that you do so only under exceptional circumstances as under the new regulations you could be fined if you remove your youngster from school for more routine holiday provision.
To apply for exceptional circumstances leave of absence during term time, please complete the accompanying application form.