A lot of parents take children on holiday during term time when it is cheaper and less busy. Is this lawful? In exceptional circumstances, a child can be granted a leave of absence of 10 school days but only if there is a “good reason”, according to the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995 as amended by the Education (Pupil Registration) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006.
Parents do not have an absolute right to remove their children from school during term time. A leave of absence must be sought from the school and granted by the headteacher alone, who will consider several factors such as: their attendance record throughout the year, whether the child has any imminent exams and at what time of year the holiday is being requested. If the request is refused by the head but the parent takes their child away anyway, the absence will be marked as unauthorised and the head may refer the matter on to the local authority. The parent is then at risk of receiving a warning (in the first instance) or a fixed penalty notice fine of up £100. More guidance from the DfE website
Given the level of the fine, there is a risk that parents will continue to take their children out of school during term time as the saving on the holiday could potentially be more than the fine.
Anita Chopra is a partner at Match Solicitors
Read this article from the TES on the rise in primary truancy, fuelled in many cases by parents seeking to avoid paying a premium for peak-season breaks
This investigation into term-time absences by the TES asks are teachers fighting a losing battle?
Other legal advice
For more advice, jobs and support for new teachers subscribe to The TES. View our best offer for new and trainee teachers now.Subscribe