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Holidays during term-time and authorised absence from school

You are required under the Education Act (1996) to ensure your child attends school regularly.  There is, however, a discretionary power held by Headteachers to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances. Find out more here.

Can I take my child out of school for a family holiday?

No.  Headteachers cannot and will not authorise school (or other educational establishment) absence purely for the reason of a family holiday.  If you feel you have an exceptional circumstance you must speak to your headteacher prior to making any arrangements or taking any absence.

Parents are legally responsible for ensuring their children receive education in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 and if on a school roll that they regularly attend school. 

There is, however, a discretionary power held by Headteachers to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances.

Please note: This is not an entitlement and a family holiday is not an exceptional circumstance.

The Headteacher will only authorise absence in line with the East Riding Behaviour and Attendance Partnership ‘Absence From School For Exceptional Circumstances Policy’.

Headteachers will not authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a child’s education. 

Please note: That supporting documents to aid decision making must be submitted at the time of your request for absence.

Please note also: We advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from their school first.  Headteachers cannot retrospectively authorise absence from school under any circumstances. If your request is authorised, you are required to ensure your child catches up on any missed school work.  This is your responsibility and school are not obliged to provide work for your child to complete. Any unauthorised absence will be recorded on your child’s attendance records.  This may result in legal proceedings against you, either through a Penalty Notice or the Magistrates’ Court. 

How do I request authorisation from the headteacher to take my child out of school?

In order to acquire authorisation for you to remove your child from school you will need to fill in a request form and then either post or take in to the school for the attention of the Head teacher.

The Head Teacher then has to make a decision based on the information provided in the authorisation form, in addition to the evidenceyou have provided.

2018 ASEC Request Form with Information (pdf 72kb opens in a new window)

2018 ASEC Information for Parents (pdf 104kb opens in a new window)

Please note: We advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from their school first.  Headteachers cannot retrospectively authorise absence from school under any circumstances.

What evidence is needed?

The evidence you will need to provide depends entirely on what type of leave from school you are applying for.

A wedding abroad needs evidence of the event and can include invitations and evidence of travel/accommodation reservations.

For time off to attend a funeral you may even be required to provide a death certificate. 

The evidence you will be required to provide will be specifically asked for by the school.  If you are unable to provide evidence then the request will be refused.

What is absence from school for exceptional circumstances?

In order for consideration to be given, requests for absence must be for exceptional circumstances only.

The primary behaviour and attendance partnership, the secondary twilight partnership and the council agree to follow the law, in such that the provision for Headteachers to authorise absence purely for the purpose of a family holiday is not an exceptional circumstance.

Exceptional circumstances could include:

  1. Service personnel returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.
  2. Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue. <
  3. The death or terminal illness of a person close to the family.
  4. To attend a wedding or funeral of a person close to the family.
  5. Where there are exceptional and unforeseen circumstances that fall outside of 1 to 4 above, the Headteacher agrees to consult with the principal education welfare officer prior to any authorisation being given to the parent.  The principal education welfare officer will discuss each case with an independent Headteacher and will make a recommendation to the referring school.

Please note:  Evidence would be requiredin each case.

If a request meets the above exceptional circumstances but falls within the following times, the Headteacher must be convinced that absence from school is the only option:

  1. The first half term of any academic year (applies to all pupils) 
  2. Year six transition day (for pupils in year six) 
  3. Year six SATs week (for pupils in year six) 
  4. Year nine options time (for pupils in year nine) 
  5. At any time during years 10 and 11 (for all pupils in these year groups) 
  6. At any time specified by the school (this will be communicated to parents by each school).

 

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What are the penalties for unauthorised absence or poor attendance?

Under the Anti Social Behaviour Act (2003) the local authority and schools have statutory powers to tackle poor school attendance and/or unauthorised absences. 

An unauthorised absence is any absence that the Headteacher has not given permission for or where an explanation has not been provided by the parent.  If your child accrues 10 sessions of unauthorised absence you may be liable for a penalty notice (one days absence equals two sessions and a five day absence is equal to 10 sessions etc). 

Penalty Notices

Penalty notices will be used as a deterrent to prevent a pattern of unauthorised absences developing. 

They will be issued by post direct to the home of a parent after possibly just one warning, or in the case of absences without acceptable cause, warnings may not be given. 

This includes pupils caught on truancy sweeps, persistent late arrival after the close of registration or unauthorised absence that has not been authorised as an absence from school for exceptional circumstances. 

In these cases the warning is given on the absence request form and detailed within this information leaflet and no written warning will be given.  Fines are issued for unauthorised absence of 5 or more days and each school day is divided into 2 registration periods. 

For example, if your child is absent for one day this equals 2 sessions and a five day absence is equal to 10 sessions.  

If you ignore a declined request

If your request is declined, and you still take your child out of school, each parent within your household will be issued with a £60 penalty notice for each child you have taken out of school. 

If a penalty notice remains unpaid after 21 days it will increase to £120.  If after 28 days it remains unpaid you may be summonsed to appear before Magistrates to explain why your child has unauthorised school absences and you may be liable for a fine of up to £1000. Support and guidance on attendance is always available and if you have any questions about this, or if you need help to achieve an improvement, then please contact your child’s schoolto discuss this. Please note: We advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from their school first.  Headteachers cannot retrospectively authorise absence from school under any circumstances.

2018 Penalty Notice Guidance for Parents (pdf 102kb opens in a new window)

How can I contact the headteacher of the school?

Contact details for all schools (and other educational establishments) in the East Riding can be found by using the East Riding Nursery and School Finder, available via the button below:

East Riding School and Nursery Finder

Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2018