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Attendance - Exceptional Leave

The 2013 amendments made it clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term-time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevail. The regulations also state that head teachers should determine the number of school days a pupil can be away from school in the event that leave is granted for ‘exceptional circumstances’.


Guidelines for Exceptional Leave

  • The decision to authorise a pupil’s absence is wholly at the head teacher’s discretion based on the pupil’s attendance, attainment and merits of each request.
  • It is acceptable to take a pupil’s record of attendance into account when making absence related decisions.
  • It is important to note that the head teachers can determine the length of the authorised absence as well as as whether a particular absence can be authorised.
  • If an event or leave can be reasonably scheduled outside of term-time then it would be not normal to authorise absence for such an event – holidays are therefore not considered as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
  • Absence to visit seriously-ill relatives or for a bereavement of close family member are usually considered to amount to ‘exceptional circumstances’, but for the funeral service only, not for extended leave.
  • Absences for important religious observances are often taken into account but only for the ceremony and travelling time, again, not for extended leave. This is intended for one-off situation rather than regular or recurring events.

If school has NOT authorised leave and you decide to go, you could face a Fixed Penalty Fine, and your child could lose their school place.

For more information please click on the documents below.


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Penalty Notice Leaflet     Penalty Notice FAQ