Advice for Schools and Parents

Amendments to the 2006 regulations were made by the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 and came into force on 1 September 2013.

The amendments made it clear that Headteachers may only grant leave of absence during term time for exceptional circumstances.  Any request for leave must be made in writing to the Headteacher in advance.

There is no formal definition offered for exceptional leave at present by the Department for Education.  However, from discussion with the DfE and professional associations it is suggested that exceptional leave would be:

  • Rare
  • Significant
  • Unavoidable
  • Short

    (NAHT, 2014)

Somerset County Council (SCC) supports schools:

  • In expecting parents and carers to make sure that children and young people attend school regularly.  Any absence from school will impact on educational achievement, success in later life and longer term health and well being
  • In ensuring the law is upheld.  Parents and carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child at the school where they are on roll.  Schools must explain their stance on term time leave in their attendance policy so that parents/carers are clear on expectations and potential consequences, such as any unauthorised absence including taking term time leave not agreed with the school, can result in legal action being taken including Penalty Notices and court prosecution.

SCC cannot override a school’s decision not to authorise any term time leave. 

Taking a child on holiday in term time interrupts the learning of the whole class and teachers have to spend time helping children catch up when they return.  Parents should arrange holidays during the 13 week school holiday periods.  Schools are open 190 days which leaves 175 days of the year for holidays.

To download an Request for Term Time Leave Form - Please click here