Absence From School During Term Time:
Legal Background and DfE Guidelines extract…
Whilst schools are required to consider parental requests for absence from school in term time, it still remains the legal duty of parents to ensure the regular attendance of a child of compulsory school age. Failure to do so could result in the Local Authority issuing a penalty notice or prosecuting the parents in the Magistrates Court.
DfE guidelines clearly state that absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year. Exceptional circumstances must be explained fully to the school who will then consider the request. Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but school does require evidence such as appointment cards or letters.
Parents should not expect that schools would automatically agree to an absence from school during term time. All requests are at the discretion of the Principal and can only be authorised by the Principal or member of staff with designated authority in the absence of the Principal.
WHF Education Welfare Officer
The White Horse Federation Education Welfare Team is growing. We would like to welcome Laura Collins to our team, she joined the team in January as the Swindon hub Education Welfare Office and holds many years’ experience in working with and supporting children and families to overcome barriers with multi-agencies including education. Laura has outlined our expectations in terms of our schools attendance as listed below:
- Children should be in school every day and arrive on time.
- Please ensure that you communicate reasons for absence to school by 08:45
- School attendance that drops below 95% is considered a cause for concern (95% equates to 10 missed days across a whole school year),
- To help, please try to make medical appointments (where possible) outside of the school day, take holidays out of school term time and communicate any reasons for absence clearly with the school
- Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child to fulﬁl their potential
- In 2016/2017 over 1500 fines were issued to parents across Swindon relating to poor school attendance- we want to work with you to prevent this happening to our parents.
As an Education Welfare Officer (EWO), I am here to support you and your family to ensure all children receive their right to education. I may contact you and arrange a meeting to provide support and advice with any difficulties that may be being faced. I will work with you, your family and the school on an agreed plan of action with the primary aim to improve your child’s attendance. This may involve further support in school or from other agencies such as Health or Social Care.
I am contactable via email or through the school admin office and am available to support with any queries or concerns relating to attendance matters. We welcome your involvement.
Laura Collins – Education Welfare Officer for The White Horse Federation