Holidays during term-time and authorised absences from school

Parents are legally responsible for ensuring their children receive education in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 and that they regularly attend school. Failure to do so is an offence under section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

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Can I take my child out of school for a family holiday?

No. The Headteacher cannot and will not authorise absences purely for the reason of a family holiday. Since September 2013, Headteachers in England have no longer had the discretion to approve absences of up to 10 days a year for family holidays in "special circumstances". New rules introduced tougher criteria of "exceptional circumstances". Therefore, Parents have no legal right to take their children out of school during term time for holidays. Term dates are published in advance, which you can view on the school website and plan holidays accordingly.

What happens to parents who break the rules?

If your request is declined, and you still take your child out of school, you can face a maximum fine of £120 per pupil, per parent. Those who refuse to can may be summoned before the Magistrates Court to explain why your child has unauthorised absences. If prosecuted, you can be fined up to £2,500 and be given a possible jail sentence of up to three months.

Schools also have a safeguarding duty, under section 175 Education Act 2002, to investigate any unexplained absences.

Authorised absence in exceptional circumstances

There is a discretionary power held by Headteachers’ to authorise absences in exceptional circumstances. If you feel you have an exceptional circumstance you must seek permission from the Headteacher prior to making any arrangements or taking any absence. This is not an entitlement and a family holiday is not an exceptional circumstance.

Please note The Headteacher will not authorise absences if is believed it is to the detriment of a child’s education, i.e. when pupils are taking their GCSE’s.

If your request is authorised, you are required to ensure your child catches up on any missed school work.  This is your responsibility and school is not obliged to provide work for your child to complete. Any unauthorised absence will be recorded on your child’s attendance records.  This may result in legal proceedings against you, either through a Penalty Notice Fine or the Magistrates’ Court. 

How do I request authorisation from the Headteacher?

We strongly advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from the Headteacher first. You must provide a written request along with any evidence to the Headteacher for consideration. The Headteacher will make a decision based on the information provided and will write back to you.

If you wish to discuss matters prior to submitting a request, you can make an appointment to meet the School Attendance and Well Being Coordinator or email