We have recently been issued with new guidelines from East Sussex County Council as to the law for taking time off during term time.
The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time and any absence from school will disrupt your child’s learning. You may consider that a holiday will be educational but your child will still miss out on the teaching that their classmates will receive. Children returning from a term time holiday are also unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed. Teachers then have to give more time to help individual children catch up on missed work. This poses a potential risk of the under achievement of other students in the class. This is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.
The Department for Education does allow a head teacher the discretion to consider authorising a holiday in term time but only in special circumstances – these are defined as follows:-
- service personnel and other employees who are prevented from taking holidays outside term-time if the holiday will have minimal disruption to the pupil’s education
- when a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis
If you consider that your request falls into this category you will need to complete the form attached to this letter. A response will be sent to you as soon as possible. If the holiday is not considered to be a special circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised in line with County Council guidance.
In the case of an unauthorised holiday the Education Support, Behaviour & Attendance Service will be notified of the holiday taken and a Penalty Notice will be issued. Please note that such a Penalty is issued to each parent for each child taken out of school. A Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 which increases to £120 if not paid within the first 28 days. Thereafter, if the Penalty remains unpaid this may result in legal action.
All holiday requests must be completed on the downloadable form, letters will not be accepted. This should be returned to the school at least 14 days before the start of the absence. These forms can also be requested for from the School Office.
All unauthorised holidays taken of 5 days or more will incur the aforementioned fine.
There is also a leaflet which explains the process, which I hope is self explanatory. Please do not hesitate to contact Mr Sullivan should you have any queries regarding this. I hope you will support our efforts to raise attendance and attainment at our school.