HOLIDAY/ABSENCE REQUESTS DURING TERM TIME
Amendments to the 2006 Education (Pupil registration) (England) Regulations do not give any entitlement to parents/carers to take their child on holiday during term time. Any application for leave must be in “exceptional circumstances” only and the Head of School must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave.
In practice these changes, which were introduced on 1st September 2013, will mean:
· Heads of School will not be allowed to authorise absences for family holidays, during term time, in any circumstances;
· The 10 day per annum discretionary period for absence has been withdrawn;
· Heads of School may only authorise term time absence for an exceptional, once in a lifetime event and any application must be received in advance. Examples of this may be a parents’ wedding, a close family funeral or watching your Grandfather carry the Olympic torch. Anything that could be viewed as recreational or a holiday will not be authorised.
In the regulations the following explanation for the changes has been detailed:
‘For pupils to benefit from education and achieve their full potential they must attend school regularly. School attendance data from 2010/2011 showed that 90% of pupils with an absence rate of less than 4% achieved 5 or more A* - C grades at GCSE or equivalent. In primary schools, 4 out of 5 pupils with an absence rate of less than 4% achieved level 4 or above in both English and mathematics. These amendments are designed to improve existing processes to help schools and local authorities address poor attendance.’
The local authority will be monitoring children with poor attendance very closely. We are fortunate that, because of our 6 term year, this can give greater flexibility in booking holidays, however, if you choose to take your child out of school during term time it may incur a fixed penalty. These penalties are in line with amendments made to the 2007 Regulations in the Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.
If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact the school. I look forward to working with you towards reducing term time absence at South Witham Academy.