Shropshire Council

Pupil leave of absence

It's known that missing school for any reason can cause a child to fall behind in their learning. Sometimes children will find it difficult to settle back into school after a break.

When children are taken out of school during term not only does the education of the individual child suffer, but it can cause disruption to the rest of the class, with teachers having to repeat work and give extra help so that the pupil can catch up. There are 190 school days in an academic year, leaving 175 days free for families to take holidays. Not taking into account other absences, just taking a fortnight’s holiday each year means that, between the ages of five to 16, a child would miss around half an academic year of learning.

What does the law say?

As of 1 September 2013 there has been a change in the The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. Where there used to be an option for headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten days in a year, this has been removed.

Headteachers are now only allowed to authorise any leave of absence when an application has been made in advance, and it's felt to be for an exceptional circumstance. The annual family holiday wouldn't be deemed an exceptional circumstance.

What should I do if I wish to request a leave of absence?

You should contact your child's school to find out how to make a request for permission. We'd strongly recommend that you do this before planning any leave of absence.

Who should make the request?

The request should be made by the parent or carer with whom the child lives. This is the case even where it's another person who wishes to take the child out of school.

What happens if my child goes on holiday in term time or takes leave of absence for other reasons without permission from the school?

The absences will be marked in the school register as unauthorised absences, and this may result in a truancy penalty notice of £60 (rising to £120) per parent per child being issued by us. In some cases, parents may be prosecuted for the offence of failure to ensure regular attendance at school.

Parents/carers should never simply discount the amount of a penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday, because this is a criminal offence and when doing so they're always risking prosecution.