The thorny issue of parents taking their children out of school for holidays in term time needs addressing.
In recent weeks I have received a large number of applications from parents requesting to take their children out of school during term time for a family holiday (in excess of a dozen requests). As Headteacher I am duty bound to adhere to the regulations passed by the Government in 2013 abolishing the right of Head Teachers to authorise holiday absence during term time, unless the absence is considered as being a “one-off exceptional circumstance which outweighs the harm caused to a pupil’s education by missing school’.
Headteachers are still able to authorise leave of absence, whether for a holiday or any other reason, but only if they are satisfied that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying it. A family holiday, where there is no evidence of an ‘exceptional circumstance’, will not be authorised, and should your child not attend school during the period requested, the leave will be classed as an unauthorised absence. It may also result in a referral to the Local Authority to request a penalty notice for unauthorised leave of absence.
Gateshead Council has produced a new document providing advice and guidance for all parents and carers regarding holidays in term time. Please take time to read the information contained in this leaflet, by clicking on the link below. Parent and carers are urged not to book holidays or take leave during school term which may have consequences on a child’s progress and attainment.
This is just another pressure handed to Headteachers by central government putting us in the most difficult of positions as we appreciate, in many cases, the reason why parents/carers request this leave of absence.
Callum Kidd, Executive Head Teacher