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Pupil Leave of Absence during Term Time

Please click the link to obtain a holiday request form.

Leave of Absence request form Oct 2013

Leave of Absence, Holidays in Term Time and Extended Leave of Absence

Guidance for Schools

  • It is important that children attend school regularly if they are to benefit from the learning opportunities provided.
  • Children who are absent from school due to holiday in term time will miss out on important learning.
  • The time teachers have to help children in a class is reduced if they spend time helping a child catch up after a holiday.
  • Educational experiences in school missed as a result of a family holiday cannot be re-captured later.
  • If a child does not attend school regularly they will not be able to keep up with the work. This has a serious impact on opportunities later in life.

Leave of Absence

The Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 state that :-

The regulation on leave of absence applies to all special schools and maintained schools.

Schools have a discretionary power to grant a pupil time off school during the term. However, schools are not restricted to grant time off in those circumstances; they can also do so if they believe there are extenuating or compassionate reasons that justify the leave. For example, children who fall within the groups at particular risk may have needs that require the school to grant time off.

All applications for leave of absence must be made in advance by the parent(s), carer(s) or corporate parent that the pupil normally resides with and Education Bradford have provided schools with a standard ‘Holiday request Form’

With the exceptions of family holidays and employment, schools’ discretion around leave of absence is far-reaching. They are able to refuse the whole period requested by a pupil’s parents, grant part of the period and refuse the remainder, or grant the whole of the period requested. Any leave of absence granted by a school must be recorded as authorised using the appropriate national code. Periods that are refused must be recorded as unauthorised.

All requests should be treated on a case by case basis within the school’s published attendance policies which should give it the flexibility to respond to difficult circumstances whilst discouraging unnecessary absence. We recommend policies that, for example, neither ban all term-time holidays nor bestow a right to all families to time off for family holidays.

 

Leave of Absence:

The issues that schools should take into account when considering a request for leave of absence include:

  • the amount of time requested;
  • age of the pupil;
  • the pupil’s general absence/attendance record;
  • proximity of SATs and public examinations;
  • length of the proposed leave;
  • pupil’s ability to catch up the work;
  • pupil’s educational needs;
  • general welfare of the pupil;
  • circumstances of the request;
  • purpose of the leave;
  • frequency of the activity; and
  • when the request was made.

It is good practice for schools to respond to all requests for a leave of absence in writing giving the reasons for the decision. It is particularly important that letters approving a request clearly state:

  • the expected date of return;
  • that the parents are expected to contact the school if anything delays the pupil returning to school when expected; and
  • what action will be taken if the pupil fails to return when expected.

Similarly, a letter refusing a request should explain the reasons for the refusal and what action will be taken if the parents ignore the refusal and keep their child away.

Parents should be made aware that time off school for family holidays is not a right.

Schools have discretion to allow up to 10 days absence in a school year for a family holiday if they believe that the circumstances warrant it.

Holidays which are taken for the following reasons should not be authorised:

  • availability of cheap holidays;
  • availability of the desired accommodation;
  • poor weather experienced in school holiday periods.

Whilst the application must be made by the parent(s) that the child normally resides with, there is no restriction on who the holiday is taken with. This is a matter for the parent(s) not the school.

Extended Leave of Absence

In exceptional circumstances, schools can approve more than 10 days holiday leave – called extended leave of absence or extended holidays. However, it is worth discussing with parents whether their plans could be changed to overlap with school holidays and thereby reduce the effect on their child’s education. Parents also need to be made aware that the child may lose their place in school and risk being fined by the Local Authority if the child does not return to school on the agreed date.

Removal from Roll

The Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 state that schools can delete pupils who fail to return on the date they were expected back from leave of absence or extended leave of absence if they fail to do so within 10 school days. However, the school must check that the pupils do not have a good reason for their absence, such as disrupted travel arrangements or illness, before deleting the pupil. The school and its local authority must make reasonable enquiries to establish the reason for non-return before the deletion is made. Schools are advised in line with the Children Missing Education guidance that they must referrer all cases of children who are removed from the school roll having failed to return following a period of leave of absence to the Education Social Work Service who will make additional enquiries to attempt to locate the child.

If the pupil has a good reason to be absent he/she should be marked authorised absence using the relevant Attendance Code and the pupil cannot be deleted. If, in the school’s view, the pupil does not have a good reason, the parents should be reminded of:

  • the date the school said it expected the pupil to return;
  • the parents’ responsibility to ensure that the child attends school regularly;
  • the possibility of legal sanctions against the parents;
  • the possibility of the school deleting the pupil from the school roll; and
  • that the pupil must be marked unauthorised absence.

If, after making reasonable enquiry, the school is unable to contact the parents or has any concerns about the pupil and his/her welfare, it should seek assistance from the Education Social Work Service. Schools should not wait until they are about to delete a pupil to seek this assistance. Further guidance on reasonable enquiry and areas that might cause concern to schools is available on the Every Child Matters website and in the Bradford Council, Children Missing Education ‘When a Child Goes Missing’ guidance for schools.