Leave of Absence in Term Time
The Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, removed references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the possibility of ten school days authorised absence. The amendments made clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist. The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, unavoidable and short. And by ‘unavoidable’ we mean an event that could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.
Term times are for education. This is the priority. Children and families have 175 days off school to spend time together, including weekends and school holidays. Head teachers will rightly prioritise attendance. The default school policy should be that absences will not be granted during term time and will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.
The regulations also stated that head teachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted for ‘exceptional circumstances’.