In September 2013, the Government introduced some significant changes to attendance regulations for pupils at school. The regulations will continue to apply during this academic year (2018/19).
The most important of these is in relation to term-time leave of absence.
The amendments set out in 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.
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.
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).
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