Request for Leave of Absence during term time

Request for Leave of Absence during term time

‘The law states that parents do not have a right to take their child out of the academy for a holiday and/or extended leave during term time. The Trust and its schools adhere to Government legislation and will therefore not authorise any holidays and/or extended leave in term time.

There is no right time to have a holiday and/or extended leave during term time, as your child is missing out on learning time. Only in exceptional circumstances will leave be granted.

The Headteacher sets out the requirements for permission to be granted for term time leave. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion.

Any parents/carers wishing to apply for term time leave of absence, including in exceptional circumstances, must apply to the Headteacher or the academy in advance and in writing by completing a pupil leave of absence request form which may be obtained from our school office.

The Headteacher will inform parents that arrangements for the potential absence should not be made without the prior arrangement of the Headteacher to authorise the leave (in exceptional circumstances).

The school will reserve the right to arrange a meeting between a senior member of staff and parents/carers to discuss potential extended leave and/or holiday plans.

Where leave of absence is granted (in exceptional circumstances), the Headteacher will determine the number of days the pupil may be away from the academy.

The school will advise parents/carers whether the absence may be authorised in the event of a request for extended leave in exceptional circumstances.

Where an absence is not agreed by the school, the parents/carers will be informed.’ (Trust Attendance Policy 2022)

As you will have read above, a leave of absence is granted entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion. In order for me to make an informed decision, I ask that parents/carers who are wishing to apply for term time leave of absence, especially in exceptional circumstances, put their request in writing well before they are intending to travel. The reason for this is to allow time for a meeting to be arranged between myself (or a senior member of staff) and parents/carers to discuss the request. Flights and tickets really shouldn’t be booked at this stage. It may also be necessary for me to request additional information e.g., supporting documents which could include a letter from a GP confirming any medical needs, clear evidence why the absence should be granted and/or a letter from the school (if different to St. Austin’s) attended by any siblings confirming their decision regarding a similar request parent/carer will have submitted to the Headteacher.

Once all of this has happened I can then make an informed decision about the leave of absence request. I may arrange a further meeting to explore a compromise agreement, e.g., to authorise part of the absence period requested. Then I would write to the parents with my final decision on whether I have granted leave of absence in exceptional circumstances.

In many cases, although parents are applying for leave of absence in writing, forms are being submitted a matter of days before a family are planning to travel. Recently, forms have been handed in to the office the day before planned travel. When this happens there is then insufficient time available for me to call a meeting to discuss this request further. I therefore immediately class this absence as unauthorised without question as policy has not been followed.

I do recognise that holidays and overseas travel to visit relatives have been delayed by the pandemic and its associated restrictions. All of us have experienced some very difficult years recently. Unfortunately, this does not give people the right to book term time holidays and expect to have their leave of absence request authorised as a result of events beyond anyone’s control. This does not constitute exceptional circumstances. A number of parents have been very upset when their leave of absence request has been declined despite the clear guidance set out in the policy.

With regard to penalty notices, I do not personally choose to fine a family for taking leave of absence during term time. I am simply following the policy that I am bound by. My actions are not discriminatory they are appropriate and in line with policy.

Mr. Molyneux

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