Amendments to school attendance regulations
Please may I draw your attention to the ‘amendments to school attendance regulations’, that the Department for Education (DfE) has announced surrounding holidays in term time.
From the 1st September 2013, the new law gives no entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time. Any application for leave must only be in exceptional circumstances and the Head Teacher & Governing Body must be satisfied that the circumstances are exceptional and warrant the granting of leave. Head Teachers would not be expected to class any term time holiday as exceptional. Parents can be fined by the Local Authority for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.
In the academic year 2011 to 2012, 9.7% of all absences in England were due to parents taking their children out of school during term time. This high level of absence has led the DfE to make this important change to legislation. Unfortunately, as you will have heard in the news, this figure is increasing. This means disruptions for all children within school as well as the child who is returning following an absence.
As a school, we fully appreciate the financial difficulties and constraints that some parents face when booking holidays, particularly during school holidays, however, we are obliged to have such firm policies and the Local Authority will be monitoring all school absences during term time and challenging those schools that do not adhere to the new legislation. This may lead to Penalty Notices being issued to parents if an absence is taken over 10 sessions (5 school days)
I would like to take this further opportunity on behalf of the school to ask you for your full support in this matter by not taking your child out of school during term time.
School has reviewed our policy in discussions with LEA and therefore; If you feel your request for term time absence meets the threshold of ‘exceptional circumstances’ you must currently submit a letter, with a full explanation for the request. This should be made not less than six weeks before the intended departure. This request can only be made by the parent/carer that the child normally resides with.
A response will be sent as soon as possible to the request and you may be required to attend an interview in school. Please accept that having outlined the legalities, the likelihood of term time absence being authorised is extremely rare and the result of any unauthorised absence could now be a fine. The DfE have brought attendance penalty notices into line with other types of penalty notices allowing Local Authorities to act faster on prosecutions.
I ask that you consider this matter very carefully before making a request for absence during term time. Consistent, regular attendance is a key factor in student achievement and attainment. I am sure you will appreciate that we need to work together to secure the best possible outcomes for your son/daughter. Further information can be obtained from www.dfe.gov.uk.
Thank you in anticipation of your support with this matter.
Miss M Haggerty