Excellent attendance is very important here at Wybunbury Delves.
In accordance with the DfE's guidance, we do not authorise absence from school for holidays during term time except in the most exceptional circumstances.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school or the alternative provision on a regular basis. The Education Act 1996 makes it a criminal offence for a parent to "fail to secure their child's regular attendance at the school." Amendments to the regulations remove any reference to family holidays, extended leave and the statutory threshold of ten school days. Parents are not entitled to take a child out of school for a family holiday.
The amendments make clear that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence (holiday) during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances include:
- Services leave
- Family crisis (These are one off events which are unavoidable and necessary: these may include: Looked After Child, adoption, bereavement, housing crisis which prevents attendance, severe medical needs within the family) – these occasions will usually be recorded with 'C' in the register, meaning 'other authorised circumstance'. Sometimes proof may be requested.
- Religious observation – recorded as 'R' in the register
- Attendance at a family funeral – recorded as 'C' in the register
- Any other 'exceptional circumstance' at the discretion of the headteacher. Evidence should be supplied.
Examples of occasions which do not fall into an exceptional circumstance include:
- Family holidays within a term
- Family holidays attached to a school holiday at any time of the year
- Birthday treats
- Days out with family members
- 'Trips of a lifetime'
Other examples of common absence requests
- Major family events – each request will be considered under 'exceptional circumstances' and the decision conveyed to parents. Decisions will depend on the date of the request, the overall percentage attendance of the child to date, the Key Stage of the child and the need to ensure examination periods/the education of the child are not disrupted. Proof may be requested, e.g. wedding invitation.
- Self-employed workers/Employment commitments – some employment may make it difficult for families to spend time together in the Summer Holiday. However, there are other school breaks when such family time can be used. A decision by parents not to spend time together in the other school holiday times, i.e. Christmas or Easter break, because of poor weather (for example) will not be a reason for authorising absences during the warmer school terms. Families need to investigate alternative non-school times throughout the year to spend time together. Legislation no longer allows Head Teachers to authorise absence from school for a term time holiday.
- Competing in Non-School Sporting events – absences will be approved for the day of the sporting event only if a pupil's attendance record is excellent. Evidence of the sporting event must be received.
- Non-School Performing, filming, modelling, paid-sporting events – Organisers of such events must apply to Cheshire East Council in order to obtain a performing licence for pupils. A request will then be sent to school to authorise the absence. Absences will be approved according to the licence only if the pupil's attendance record is excellent.
If you decide to take a holiday or request a leave of absence during term time what should you do?
The parent/carer with whom the child resides must apply in writing to the school using the school Leave of Absence Form (available on our website and in the school of office).
Leave of Absence Form
The form should be at the school office a minimum of two weeks prior to the commencement of the absence. Any leave of absence is likely to be unauthorised if the request is received with fewer than two weeks' notice.
What will the school do then?
- The Headteacher will determine whether the exceptional circumstance ruling applies, if not the application will be declined.
- You will receive a written response from the Headteacher (or the deputyl) letting you know ifyour application has been approved.
- If the holiday goes ahead after the application has been declined the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
What will happen if the absence is unauthorised?
The school will decide if a Fixed Penalty Notice should be issued. This is usually because the holiday has not been authorised as the reasons have not met the exceptional circumstance criteria, and the holiday is over 10 sessions, 5 school days. If the school decides that a Fixed Penalty Notice is to be issued:
You will receive a letter from the school advising that it has referred the matter to the Local Authority and that a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued.
The school will inform the Local Authority that a Fixed Penalty Notice needs to be issued.
A Fixed Penalty Notice will be sent to you, accompanied by an explanatory letter; the Notice gives you the opportunity to pay a penalty fine instead of being prosecuted in the criminal courts.
Penalties for unauthorised absence
|Timeline||One child||Two children|
|Paid within 21 days||£60 per parent||£60 per child = £120 per parent|
|After 21 days and before 28 days||£120 per parent||£120 per child = £240 per parent|
|After 28 days||You will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates' Court on the grounds you have failed to secure your child's regular attendance||You will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates' Court on the grounds you have failed to secure your child's regular attendance|
Payments will not be accepted after the 28th day and payments cannot be paid in part or by instalments