Essex County Council Guide to Term Time Holidays
“Parents should not normally take their children on holidays in term time. There is no legal right to do so.”
With effect from the 1st September 2013, the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 amended Regulation 7 which prohibits schools from granting leave of absence to a pupil, except where an advance application has been made by the parent with whom the pupil normally resides, and where it is an exceptional circumstance, such as a parent who is employed by the Armed Forces and is on leave from a foreign posting. There is no entitlement for parents to take their child out of school for holiday during term time, but however, you may apply to the school for leave of absence if you believe there are exceptional circumstances such as those above. Taking your child out of school during term time will be detrimental to your child’s educational progress. A pupil who takes 10 days absence will only attain 94.7% attendance in the year. Ten days also means the pupil misses 50 hours of education, which means they will have difficulty catching up with the learning they have missed. Because holidays will now only be authorised under exceptional circumstances, the holiday application is no longer available on this website, and so you will need to ask for a form from the School Office. In the event that your circumstances are not considered to be exceptional, then if the holiday is still taken, the case will be referred to the Educational Welfare Service who may issue a Penalty Notice for £120 (or £60 if paid within 21 days) and this penalty is charged to each parent for each child taken out of school (e.g. for a family of 2 adults and 2 children, the minimum fine would be £240 if paid within 21 days). How do I request an exceptional leave of absence for my child? Your request must be made in advance, in line with school policy, using the school’s application form. Please ask the school about the policy and how to obtain an application form. No holiday should be booked, even for exceptional circumstances, until after consent for the absence has been given by the school. How is the decision made by the school? The Headteacher and Governing Body will make the decision based on the exceptional circumstances cited by the applicant. Explanations such as a holiday being cheaper outside the Summer holiday or because it could not be booked in the Summer is not considered an exceptional circumstance, because it is expected that thought should be being given to whether it is possible for a family to take holiday during one of the five other school closure periods during the year. What happens if the school refuse my application for a holiday? If you take your child out of school without approval the absence will be recorded as unauthorised (truancy) and the Education Welfare Service may issue you with a penalty notice which includes a substantial fine as outlined above. If the penalty is not paid within 21 days the fine doubles. If you would like to see a copy of the guidelines regarding the revised Regulations, then please contact the school office who will be able to ensure that you receive a copy. There could be a small charge if a paper copy is requested. whether the request is for more than ten days; the overall attendance pattern of the pupil – especially if this is below 90% or there has been unauthorised absence in the preceding 12 weeks; the time of year proposed for the trip, e.g. whether the absence coincides with an examination or important test or in the run-up to same; the nature of the trip and parental wishes; the pupil’s stage of education and progress; that the holiday is applied for by the parent/carer with whom the child normally resides; whether the parent is unable to have their annual leave from work during the school holiday period.