Parents will already be aware of the change to the law relating to family holidays taken in term-time. (See The Department for Education website: http://www.education.gov.uk/popularquestions/a005551/can-i-take-my-child-on-holiday-in-term-time?)
The law makes it clear that parents must avoid taking holidays in term time because absence from school can seriously impact on student learning. Whilst there may be occasions when a student is unable to attend school (e.g. illness), all other absences should therefore be kept to a minimum and if at all possible avoided.
To make a request for a holiday during term time, you have to get permission from the Principal. You can only do this if:
- You write to the Principal in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with).
- There are exceptional circumstances.
What are “special” and "exceptional” circumstances?
The following are examples of the criteria for leave of absence, which may be considered as “exceptional”:
- Service personnel returning from active deployment
- Where inflexibility of the parents’ leave or working arrangement is part of the organisational or company policy. This would need to be evidenced by the production or confirmation from the organisation/company.
- Where leave is recommended as part of a parents’ or child’s rehabilitation from medical or emotional problems. Evidence must be provided.
- When a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis
- Unfortunately the fact a holiday is cheaper during term time will not be considered as “special” or “exceptional” circumstances.
Ultimately, however, it is for the Principal to decide if the circumstances are “special” or “exceptional”. Each request for leave of absence will be considered by the Principal on an individual basis.
In deciding whether or not to approve a request, as well as considering the circumstances surrounding the request, the Principal is also likely to take into account:
- the age of the student
- the time of the year proposed for the holiday
- the overall attendance pattern of the student and
- the student’s stage of education and progress.