Parents in Calderdale are being reminded of the changes in Government regulations when requesting time off school for students in term time.
As of September 2013, head teachers cannot grant any request for leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Most often, such requests happen when parents seek time out of school for family holidays. The Department for Education has said that leave of absence should not be authorised on grounds of cost or availability of a particular holiday.
This new guidance aims to reduce the amount of time children lose from education due to holidays in term time. Nationally 15% of all absence in primary schools is due to children being removed from school for holidays. In secondary schools the figure is 5.5%.
In certain circumstances, parents who take their children out of school for holidays in term time can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice where this leave is not authorised by the head teacher. Changes brought in by Government mean that where a parent is issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice they will have to pay £60 within 21 days (previously 28 days), or £120 if they pay outside the 21 days but within 28 days (previously 42 days). Each parent may be issued with a notice for each child so two parents with two children can potentially be issued with four Fixed Penalty Notices.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Megan Swift, said:
“It’s important that children attend school as much as possible, and while some absences obviously can’t be avoided, taking time out for holidays can make it hard for pupils to catch up with the learning they have missed.”
Calderdale Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Stuart Smith, added:
“Parents should be aware that they do not have authority in law to authorise their child’s absence from compulsory education and councils are under increasing pressure to prosecute parents for non attendance, particularly where the reason has been term time package holidays or days to go shopping, help with the family business etc”
To find out more about these changes visit: Amendments to school attendance regulations(external link)