Leave of absence / extended holiday
Absences may be authorised for a number of reasons at the Headteacher’s discretion. For example:
- Medical reasons, where the school has been notified
- Doctors/Hospital or Dental appointments known in advance, although parents are asked to make appointments out of school hours where at all possible
- Religious observance (in accordance with Kirklees LA guidance)
Unauthorised absences may be unauthorised for a number of reasons at the Headteacher’s discretion. These include:
- Medical reasons that are not accompanied with an explanation, or with a note on return to school
- Shopping or haircut
- Sleeping in (on a regular basis)
- Visiting relations or trips to the airport
- Extended leave (holidays) which has not been authorised
Unauthorised absence can lead to the authority using sanctions and or legal proceedings.
Extended leave/Visits abroad
The LA, school and governors view is that children should not be absent from school for the purposes of a holiday/ extended leave. Therefore, term time leave will be unauthorised.
Taking holidays/ extended leave in term time will affect a child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents not to take children away in term time. There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to extended leave. Guidance issued by the DfE in September 2013 has strengthened the view that children should not be taken out of school for the purposes of a holiday.
The guidance states that:
- Time off school for family holidays is not a right. Schools have discretion and may agree leave in special circumstances which must be discussed with the Headteacher.
- It is for Headteachers to determine if the request is reasonable. Each request will be judged on a case by case basis and will make an assessment of each application on its individual merits. The headteacher may consult with the Chair of Governors if appropriate.
We do not consider the following as exceptional circumstances; these are not an exhaustive list:
- Family reunions or gatherings
- A family holiday at a lower cost
- Family events including weddings and funerals
- Parent’s work / holiday rota
- Holidays booked by a family member without parent’s knowledge
Where family holidays or extended holidays are taken without proper authorisation, the school will respond as follows:
- Parents can be given a Penalty Notice or prosecuted for periods of unauthorised holidays after 5 days. (Currently this is £60 per parent per child. If the penalty notice is not paid with 21 days the amount increases to £120 per parent per child). Failure to pay the penalty notice could result in the local authority commencing legal proceedings against you for the offence of not ensuring your child’s regular school attendance. If found guilty, you may be fined up to £1,000 and you will receive a criminal record.
- Pupils who fail to return to school on the date they were expected back from extended leave may be reported to the LA department Children Missing in Education (CME). They will make reasonable enquiries to locate the pupil. However, if all enquires fail, after a ten day period the pupil/s may be deleted from the school register/s.
- The parents could be prosecuted under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 for repeat offences of unauthorised leave of absence.
If a member of staff is made aware that a parent is considering taking their child/children out of school for an extended holiday they should:
- Ask the parent to speak to the Headteacher
- Inform the Head teacher.
Prior to leave of absence a form will be filled in and returned to the Headteacher. The Head teacher will sign the form and this application will be kept in the child’s records.
Where it is decided that authorisation cannot be given but the absence occurs, consideration will be given to the issuing of a Penalty Notice or deletion from the school’s register in line with Kirklees Code of Conduct.
Safeguarding children’s welfare
In a small number of cases, schools could have concerns about a pupil’s welfare whilst abroad. In such cases, the school should seek support from their Local Authority. For more information and guidance on this, please refer to section 5 of the online Kirklees Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Procedures Manual