Information for parents and carers concerning holidays during term time
Children of school age who are registered at a school must, by law, attend that school regularly. Regular attendance is important, not just because the law requires it but because it is the best way of ensuring that a child makes the most of the educational opportunities which are available to him/her. There may be occasions when a child has to miss school – for example if he or she is unwell. Any other absences should be kept to an absolute minimum. In particular, parents must avoid taking their children out of school during term time in order to go on holiday.
What the Law Says
The law makes it clear that parents do not have any right or entitlement to take a child out of school for the purpose of a term time holiday. The regulations do state that Headteachers may, in certain special circumstances, grant up to 10 school days leave in a school year, but parents should not expect such leave to be granted as a right. Indeed at the federation as of October 2007, in most cases Heads of schools will refuse to authorise leave. The Government’s own guidance on the issue of term-time holidays states:
"Parents should not normally take pupils on holiday during term time".
How we deal with requests for term-time holidays
The federation has a very strict policy about term time holidays. Our policy as of October 2007 is to refuse all applications for holidays during term time. The law clearly states that a parent has no right to expect 10 days of holiday absence and that it is at the discretion of the school.
PLEASE DO NOT BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS AND THEN TELL US YOU ARE GOING – WE WILL NOT AUTHORISE EXCEPT IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Why have we made this decision?
We are judged for our attendance figures by OfSTED at each inspection, ad we are required by law to publish our attendance figures to the Department for Children and Schools. As a school an organisation, most sites in the federation are now judged to be outstanding in every category. As a organisation, we do not accept that our children will miss out on their education due to holidays during term time. We are at school for 190 days in the year. That still leaves 175 days for holidays.
How to apply for special leave during term time
Go to the office and ask for a special leave form – this must be done at least 2 weeks in advance of your proposed leave dates. Fill in the form for the attention of your head of school. You should expect to hear from us within 5 working days. Term time holidays will NOT BE GRANTED unless there are exceptional circumstances which might justify it.
What are exceptional circumstances?
It is the decision of heads of school as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances and each request for term time leave will be considered on an individual basis.
Exceptional leave is NOT:
- Availability of cheap holidays
- Availability of desired accommodation
- Poor weather experienced during school holiday periods
- Overlap with the beginning or end of term.
Exceptional leave MAY be:
- Grandparent or other close relative is seriously ill – and you must leave in an emergency
- Significant trauma in the family recently and a holiday will benefit the child – usually backed up by a doctor’s referral
- A one-off, never to be repeated occasion that can only happen at that time, e.g. wedding/funeral.
- Educational experience for the child offered by a regional or national organisation, e.g. filming for a TV commercial or a ballet exam.
What if I decide to go anyway? – What will happen?
If your child is out of school for between 1/2 (half) day and 10 days then you will receive a fine of £60 per child. If your child remains out of school for more than 10 days then you risk losing your child's place. This is because we can off-roll if the absence is unauthorised and we don't know where your child is officially. If you do lose your child's place in our school you are then responsible for finding another school place.You would be welcome to reapply to us either directly or through Lambeth.
If the time out school makes your child's attendance drop below 85%, then they are known as 'persistently absent'. This means that the Government has given schools new powers to deal with this through the courts. This means facing possible prosecution. However, Crawford families note Southwark do not issue fines, they take you straight to court.
Please don't take your child out of school during term time, it disrupts your child's learning and you risk penalties - thank you.
But the school has authorised my special leave – what do I need to know?
If we do authorise a special leave of absence under exceptional circumstances, you must understand the likely educational impact upon your child. We will also explain what work your child will miss at school, and agree with you how this may be addressed, either during the holiday or upon your return. Taking work with you on special leave is no substitution for classroom teaching.
If we do authorise your leave you will receive a letter on school headed paper detailing when your child will be absent and the agreed date for return. It will be signed only by head of school. A copy will be kept in the file in the office for our records.
This letter is your proof that the special leave has been authorised – so it is important you keep it safe should you need to show it to our members of staff.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK YOUR HEAD OF SCHOOL.
WE ARE FULL IN MOST YEAR GROUPS AT PRESENT SO IF YOUR CHILD IS OFF-ROLLED THEN IT IS VERY UNLIKELY THAT THEIR PLACE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THEIR RETURN.