Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 has been amended (as of 1 September 2013) to prohibit the proprietor (headteacher) of a maintained school granting leave of absence to a pupil except where an application has been made in advance and the proprietor considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.

The expectation of the Local Authority is that term time holidays should not beplanned or booked as a matter of course as they are likely to be unauthorised and may lead to the issuing of a penalty notice (fine).

Exceptional circumstances are defined as:

• Forces Personnel on leave from a foreign posting
• Exceptional significant family events or circumstances – these will be considered on an
individual basis with you.

Authorised officers have the discretion to issue a penalty notice without warning where the parent has chosen to
take the child on leave during term time without authorisation or evidence is subsequently found to suggest a
child was away from school with the knowledge of the parent and does not meet the statutory defences
mentioned below.

Penalty Notices

Through section 444A and section 444B of the Education Act 1996, it has become possible that certain cases of unauthorised absence can be dealt with by way of a Penalty Notice. Penalty Notices require each parent of a child of compulsory school age, whose attendance has been unsatisfactory, to pay a penalty, currently £60.00 if paid within 21 days or £120.00 if paid within 28 days.

If you not pay the Penalty Notice, such cases you will be automatically summonsed to appear in Court for an offence under Section 444(1) Education Act 1996 and can result in a criminal conviction recorded against you. Courts have a wider range of sentencing options, which could include a maximum fine of up to £1000.

The only statutory defences to the offence under Section 444(1) Education Act 1996 are:

• The child was absent for medical reasons
• The LEA failed to provide transport when required to do so
• The absences were due to religious observance
• You had permission of the school or there was an unavoidable cause

Completed Absence Request Forms should be returned to the school office. 

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