Leave of Absence (Holiday Policy)
Holidays in term time can affect your child's education and future life prospects, particularly for those children and young people with existing attendance problems, struggling with education or being absent at crucial times in the school year.
Redcar and Cleveland Council are committed to working in partnership with families and schools to manage and reduce school absence due to term time holidays.
Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that headteachers/principles may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers/principles should determine the number of days that a child can be away from school if the leave is granted. These regulations came into effect from the 1st September 2013.
The government, our local authority and our 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 impact on their child's education and do co-operate with their child's school, however, a number of parents continue to take their children out of school without the authorisation of the Headteacher/principle.
The government has introduced legislation allowing our local authority to issue penalty notices to parents who fail to ensure their children attend school and this is incorporated within our school attendance procedures. All schools within Redcar and Cleveland 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 Headteacher/principle has the discretion to authorise leave of absence in exceptional circumstances.
Our local authority may consider taking further action when unauthorised leave of absence is taken at the following crucial times and circumstances, if deemed to be in the public interest:
- at any time in September;
- for any pupil whose attendance was 95% or below (including authorised and unauthorised absence within the previous 12 calendar months);
- at any time during formal examination periods, e.g. Year 1 phonic tests, year 6 SATs and Key Stage 4 exams, e.g. GCSEs and during exam preparation time;
- if a holiday warning letter of Penalty Charge notice has been issued during the previous 12 calendar months, measured from the date before the first day of the leave of absence regardless of overall attendance during the previous 12 month period;
- attendance 95% and above during the previous 12 months can receive a warning letter and this may also be issued at the Headteacher/principle's 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.
All schools should publish their formal holiday policy on an annual basis. Any leave of absence taken without approval will be recorded as an unauthorised holiday absence (Code G).