HOLIDAYS DURING SCHOOL TERM TIME
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, SI 2013 No 756, amended the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, SI 2006 No. 1751 to remove references to family holiday. Prior to the changes, Headteachers could grant a leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days per year.
According to the regulations which took effect in September 2013, Headteachers cannot grant leave of absence during term-time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. Any requests for leave of absence must be put in writing, so that the Headteacher and school’s Governing Body can be satisfied that the circumstances are exceptional and therefore warrant the granting of leave. Examples of exceptional circumstance might be to attend the funeral of a close family member or to receive respite care that has been recommended in writing by a health professional as part of rehabilitation from a medical issue.
A referral will be made to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice (fine) if there is unauthorised leave of absence (e.g. a term-time holiday) of 5 consecutive days. A Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 per parent per child if it is paid within 21 days of receipt. If not paid within 21 days this rises to £120 per parent per child. If the penalty is not paid in full within 28 days, the Local Authority will prosecute parents under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. If found guilty, parents could be fined up to £2,500 or receive up to three months in prison.