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Abbey CofE Infant School

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Leave of Absence in Term Time

“Evidence shows that children with poor attendance are unlikely to succeed academically and are more likely to be NEET (not in education, employment of training) when they leave school”.

“If children are taken away for a two week family holiday every year and have an average number of days off for sickness and appointments, they will have missed the equivalent of a year off school by the time they are sixteen”.

“There is a clear link between poor attendance at school and lower academic achievement”.

Improving Attendance at School – Charlie Taylor pub.  DfE 2012


Previous interpretations of the regulations where Head Teachers could grant pupils leave of absence of up to 10 days for the purpose of a two week family holiday in term time has been interpreted by some parents as a right to an automatic two week term-time holiday.  This is not acceptable and the rules have been strengthened to prevent this happening in the future.


For this reason the Government brought in new guidance tightening taking time off in term-time.  These new rules came into force in September 2013.  Headteachers are no longer permitted to authorise absence for holidays taken during term time.  They are permitted to grant leave only in exceptional circumstances.  If you think you have exceptional circumstances please talk to us without delay and before arrangements are entered into or money committed.

If exceptional circumstances are accepted the Headteacher will determine how much absence will be authorised.


Each application for leave of absence will be considered on a case by case basis and on its own merits.


We understand that holidays are generally less expensive during term time but this does NOT count as exceptional circumstances.


Parents please note:

Leave which is taken for the following reasons will not be authorised:

  • Availability of cheaper holidays.
  • Availability of desired accommodation.
  • Poor weather experienced in school holidays.
  • Overlap with beginning or end of term.

We greatly appreciate parental support to reduce the total amount of days lost due to holidays.  We are committed to working in partnership with you to enable your child to reach academic targets and to support their social development and for this to happen we need to keep individual attendance as high as possible and we all need to play our part.


Why attendance matters

  • Less than 5 days absence = 98%+ attendance
  • 14 days absence (approx) = 93.5% attendance
  • 20 days absence (approx) = 90% attendance
  • More than 30 days absence = 88% attendance

If a child achieves 80% attendance this means that they have missed approximately 40 days of education over the academic year, averaging 1 day per week.  If a child’s attendance equates to 80% over their time in secondary school they will miss more than a full year of education.


Be aware:

Holidays which are unauthorised should not be taken.  If they are taken, parents are in breach of their legal duty to ensure that their child attends school full time and may be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecution through the courts.


Your child’s progress academically as well as socially is our shared priority.