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Responsibility

Parents and carers are responsible to ensure that their child is educated.

What should I do if I want to take my child on holiday in term time for any period of time?

Parents/Guardians should not book a family holiday in term time. Whilst you may think this is beneficial, taking a holiday during term time means that children miss important school time – both educationally and for other school activities. It will be difficult for them to catch up on work later on and it can have a wider impact upon the school.

Whilst it is of course up to YOU as a parent to decide if you take your child on holiday in term time, however, the school DO NOT have to authorise the absence from school if they do not accept the reasons you give, unless they consider that the circumstances are exceptional.

The amendments make clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Head teachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.

Any leave of absence is at complete discretion of the Head Teacher and only he/she or their delegated person can authorise the absence.

However, if after considering whether there are exceptional circumstances and the school does not agree the absences and you take your child out of school, the school may record this as unauthorised absence. This could result in a fixed penalty fine being issued by the local authority and as a result you may be fined in respect of each parent and each child, payable up to £120 for each. Therefore two parents and two children could potentially receive fines amounting to a maximum £480. If you choose not to pay the fine the local authority may take legal proceedings against you.

Deletion from the school role

Parents need to be aware that their child’s name may be deleted from the schools role if your child does not return to school within any agreed time or the date the absence has not been authorised.

This action will be taken in consultation with the local authority who may agree to the removal, upon any return you will have to reapply for admission to a school within the borough. A place at your previous school cannot be guaranteed.

What the Law says about school attendance

By law all children of compulsory school age (between age 5 and 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. Section 444 (1a) of the Education Act 1996 requires children and young people of compulsory school age to regularly attend the school at which he/she is on roll. It states if ‘the parent knows that his/her child is failing to attend regularly at school without reasonable justification to cause him to do so, he/she is guilty of an offence’. Upon conviction you may be fined up to £2,500 per parent, per child and/or up to 3 months imprisonment. If you wish further information please see DMBC Education Investigation Service.

Persistent Absence

Collectively authorised and unauthorised absence means “persistent absence”. The government has set a target for schools to prevent any absence reaching 10%.

Condoned Absence

It is all too easy for parents to phone in or write a letter to the school to cover a child’s absence and in the majority of cases most parents are genuine in this regard, but sometimes because of a number of reasons this is not the case. Please understand that a school DOES NOT have to accept the reasons you give, and ONLY the school can authorise the absence, it is not an automatic right.

What is a Truancy Sweep?

A Truancy Sweep is a joint operation undertaken by the Police and the Education Investigation Service.

Children and young people who appear to be of school age can be stopped by a uniformed Police Officer and a member of staff from the Education Investigation Service in public places at specified times. The child or young person may be alone, or with friends or accompanied by an adult. Follow up action can range from no action taken, to a formal warning to a fixed penalty notice or contribute in further evidence of any ongoing enquiry.

Unaccompanied Child/Young people

Unaccompanied children and young people will be stopped to allow the Police Officer to make enquires to establish whether the person is out of school with or without permission and a decision will then be made as whether to remove them to agreed designated place of safety. The Education Investigation Officer will also take the detail of the child / young person and contact the school or parent/carers.

The child/young person would then be either escorted back to school or home.

Accompanied Child/Young people

No attempt will be made to separate a child from an accompanying adult, but enquires will be made as to the reason the child’s absence from school. The Education Investigation Officer will then advise them as to whether the given cause of absence is acceptable authorised absence.

The majority of reasons provided by parents / carers when stopped would not be considered as acceptable reason for their child’s absence.

Children, who miss one day each week from school, are missing out on 20% of their education.

Help guidance and advice

If you are experiencing difficulty with your child’s attendance, behaviour or accessing support to address any additional needs your child has you should always contact the SCHOOL. The school will work with you to try and resolve any difficulties you have and/or identify appropriate levels of support or the support of other agencies.