Applications for extraordinary leave during term time should be addressed in writing to the Principal in advance by both parent(s) / carer(s) who have parental responsibility and whom the child normally resides. Holidays should not be taken during term times. Holiday leave is not authorised.
Absences which may be authorised under exceptional circumstances
The Headteacher has discretion to authorise short term absence for certain activities where the request for absence is proportionate and reasonable. This will usually be granted where there is:
- Exceptional family circumstances such as the sudden family bereavement or serious terminal illness of a close relative.
- The student performing in a Performing Arts activity (not attending as an audience member).
- The student is playing in a county, regional or national sports team.
- The student is taking part in a recognised town twinning exchange programme.
In the case of a) above, parents are asked to contact the School office by telephone. In case of (b – d), a letter seeking permission should be sent to the Headteacher at least three weeks in advance of the proposed activities. In the case of (b – d) absences are unlikely to be authorised where the proposed activity is taking place at the weekend or in the evening and the request for absence is for school day(s). As all requests are carefully considered, the outcome of the request will be communicated by letter within 10 days. Authorisation will be communicated by letter.
Penalty Notices – Unauthorised Holidays
Penalty notices have been introduced by the Government under the Antisocial Behaviour Act 203 S444A and the Education Act of 1996. These will be issued by the Education Department to each parent where there is an unauthorised holiday. The criminal justice and Court Services Act 2000 has introduced the more serious “aggravated offence” for failing to ensure regular school attendance by adding 444 (1) (A) to the Education Act 1996. The Executive Group of the Education Welfare Service have agreed where a child has had 2 periods of unauthorised leave for which the parent has been issued with a Penalty Notice (for each occasion), on the third occasion, no Penalty Notice will be issued and that parent will be taken straight to Court under the higher level aggravated offence. This means that the parent may be subject to a much more severe penalty i.e a maximum fine of up to £2,500 or 3 months in custody or, a community order which may involve them doing a number of hours of unpaid work. The grounds for issuing a penalty notice include:
- Where the Headteacher has granted consent for exceptional leave between identified dates but your child does not return on the agreed date
- Where a parent does not request permission to take their child out of school for a holiday
- Where a parent takes a child out of school for a holiday even though permission has been refused by the HeadteacherWhen a pupil is just starting the school. This is very important as your child needs to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible.
- Before and during assessment periods GCSE or any other public examinations. (No holiday requests during yr11 will be agreed)
- When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence.
- Where a pupil’s attendance rate over the 12 months prior to the request being made is below 90%, requests will not be agreed.