Attendance and Welfare Service - Leave of Absence (Holiday Policy)

Following the Local Authority (LA) restructure of services, as from the 1st April 2014 the Education Welfare Service (EWS) and BEST (Behaviour Education Support Team) will be merged under the new title of Attendance & Welfare Service (AWS).

Holidays in term time can damage a child's education and future life prospects, particularly for those pupils with existing attendance problems, struggling with education or being absent at critical times in the school year. The Redcar and Cleveland People Services are committed to working in partnership with schools and families to manage and reduce school absence due to term time holidays.

Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Head teachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted. These regulations come into effect from the 1st September 2013.

The government, the LA and the schools acknowledge the financial and work pressures some families are subject to and in exceptional circumstances are prepared to authorise term time leave of absence. Most parents acknowledge the need for these absences to be managed carefully to avoid having a detrimental effect on their child's education and do co-operate with the schools, however, a significant minority of parents take their children out of school without authority.

The government has introduced legislation allowing the LA to issue penalty notices to parents who fail to ensure their children attend school and this is incorporated within our school attendance procedures. (Penalty Notice charge is £60 per parent per child, to be paid within 21 days and will increase to £120 to be paid within 28 days of the penalty notice being issued.) All schools within the Borough are encouraged to adopt a common leave of absence policy to ensure legal compliance;
  • Parents should provide at least one month advance notice in writing of any planned absence, the head teacher has the discretion to authorise leave of absence in exceptional circumstances.
  • The LA may consider taking further action when unauthorised leave of absence is taken at the following critical times and circumstances, if deemed to be in the public interest.
  1. At any time in September;
  2. For any student whose attendance was 94.9% or below (including authorised and unauthorised absence within the previous 12 months);
  3. At any time during formal external examination periods, e.g. Year 1 phonic tests year 6 SATs and Key Stage 4 exams. The introduction of GCSE early entry and controlled assessments means that leave of absence will not be authorised in Years 10 or 11. During exam preparation time;
  4. Attendance 95% and above during the previous 12 months will receive a warning letter and will also be issued at the head teachers request for pupils failing to achieve their academic attainment/potential, patterns of previous attendance concerns/punctuality, or any other concerns that impact on their learning.

The school should publish the formal holiday policy on an annual basis to all parents. Leave of absence taken without approval will be recorded as an unauthorised holiday absence (code G).

For further information contact Annette Duff, Team Manager, Attendance & Welfare Service, tel no. 01642 837719 / 837737 / 837738.



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Last updated:
17/03/2014

Assigned review date:
14/02/2015

Page Section:
Resident
Schools & Learning

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