Holiday Request Form
Parents should not normally take their children on holiday during term time and must apply for leave of advance. The responsibility for authorising requests for term time holidays lies with the school. Each request for leave of absence should be considered individually, taking account of:
- Pupil’s stage of education and progress
- Time of year proposed for the trip – does it coincide with any tests or examinations? Is it during the month of September?
- Overall attendance pattern of the pupil – what is the attendance for the preceding 12 months? Have there been previous absences due to a holiday?
Schools can only agree to absence for a family holiday if they believe there are special circumstances which warrant it. Parents should complete a leave of absence form and provide suitable evidence. Special circumstances may include:
- Service personnel where a parent/carer has just returned from a tour of duty and needs time with the family
- Where parent/carer is able to demonstrate clearly (e.g. letter from employer) that they are restricted to annual leave within the school term or they have work commitments
It is important that schools discourage parents from removing their children from education for any reason as absences may have a negative impact on the pupil’s educational attainment and progress. A pupil who takes 10 days absence will only attain 94.7% attendance in the year. 10 days absence also means the pupil will miss 50 hours of education.
If parents do not apply for leave of absence in advance of taking it, the absence should be recorded as unauthorised. If parents keep a child away for longer than was agreed, any extra time is recorded as unauthorised. If the pupil fails to attend school within 10 school days immediately following the date the pupil was due to return and the school has no reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend the school by reason of sickness or any other unavoidable cause and both the school and the Local Authority have failed, after reasonable enquiry, to ascertain where the pupil is the pupil can be removed from roll and referred to Children Missing Education (CME).
It is expected that where a school has not agreed to authorise the absence for a term time holiday there will have been contact with the family to ensure they are fully aware of the reason why it has not been agreed. This will also make sure that it is not a case for leave of absence due to special circumstances rather than a holiday request.
Examples of when the school may wish to authorise leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances may be where a family needs to spend time together to support each other in a crisis. This may include:
- An immediate family member is terminally/critically ill
- Families who have been through a traumatic or acrimonious divorce
- Families where the circumstances are known to the school and where it may be beneficial for them to take time out together
Schools need to make the decision whether they wish to apply for a penalty notice following an unauthorised term time holiday. Governors at West Park School will not issue penalty notices at this time. If a child’s absence falls below 90% however parents/carers should expect to be contacted by the Local Authority Attendance Officer.