As you are probably aware, headteachers cannot authorise any leave of absence during term time unless they are satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances to warrant the granting of leave. 

The Department for Education does not consider a need or desire for a holiday (or other absence for leisure/recreation) to be an exceptional circumstance so these absences cannot be authorised by the school.   

Whilst each request is treated on a case-by-case basis, the following are examples of exceptional circumstances that may be authorised:

  • Wedding of a close family member (or where the child is involved in the wedding ceremony, for example, as a bridesmaid)
  • Funeral of a close family member
  • Travel time if the above events are held in a different country

Please also know that the school has a duty to challenge any absences where we believe that holidays have been taken without a leave of absence request being submitted in advance.  These absences may be re-coded as unauthorised and the authority may decide to issue a penalty notice if illness is not proven.    

September 2024 – Working Together to Improve School Attendance - DfE Statutory Guidance

From September 2024, the government has put additional statutory guidance in place for all schools.  For unauthorised absences, fines will increase from £60 (per parent, per child) to £80, increasing to £120 if not paid within 21 days. 

In addition, there will be a national framework governing absence fines to ensure consistency between authorities.  Schools will be required to consider fines when children miss more than five days (or 10 half-day sessions) in a rolling 10-week period which is a change to the current Derbyshire guidance.  Arriving late also counts as an unauthorised absence so parents must ensure that children arrive before registers close for the day or this will be considered an unauthorised absence and be counted within the 10 week period. 

A further change is that, from September 2024, the DfE have stated that only 2 penalty notices can be issued to the same parent (in respect of the same child) within a 3-year rolling period.  If a further period of unauthorised absence is taken, legal intervention will take place and this could result in prosecution.  This is an important change and one that parents should be aware of before booking any holidays for next academic year and beyond. 

Working Together

We are here to work in partnership with you to ensure that your child enjoys their time at school and attends every day where possible.  If your child has any difficulties coming into school, please speak to their class teacher in the first instance who can explore these reasons with you.  If difficulties still remain, please ask to speak to Mrs Carter who can offer support to your child and help them to overcome this challenge.