Dates for Your Diary
The document below contains information about this term’s key events. We have the key dates for the rest of the year for you to keep a check on what’s coming up: so please visit our calendar in the EVENTS section.
This calendar is updated fairly regularly, and you can create a link to you own calendar to update your device.
Absence in Term-Time
Schools can no longer authorise holidays during term-time, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances does not include
- Cheap holiday cost
- Getting personal paperwork
- Visiting relatives (this should be planned into holiday periods)
Exceptional circumstances may include
- Emergency service / forces personnel with proof of enforced holiday period
- Holiday industry employees with proof of this being the ONLY time period allowed by employer
- One transcontinental leave request per Key Stage for a very significant extended family event, including seeing and elderly/ seriously ill relative
The school would expect a child’s attendance to be at least in line with national attendance in order to authorise a leave of absence. This is set at 95% currently at Wellsprings although this may increase as the attendance rates go up.
Regular time off for illness will be challenged, requiring not only medical evidence but also medical guidance on how schools can best support and ‘manage’ those children in school. Saying a child is “unwell” will no longer be enough, parents will need to be specific.
Any time away from school can have a significant impact on educational attainment, success in later life and longer term health and well-being. In law, parents and carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child at school.
Therefore, any unauthorised absence in term time can result in the issuing of a Fixed Term Penalty Notice. Parents will have 21 days to pay this £60 fine, after which it goes up to £120 per parent per child.
Failure to pay a Fixed Term Penalty Notice within 28 days may result in a criminal conviction and a fine in the Magistrate’s Court of up to £1000.
A fixed Penalty Notice might also be issued if a child’s attendance falls below 92% with 10 sessions or more of unauthorised absence and no satisfactory reason or explanation is given.
These are government changes over which schools have no choice and apply to all schools. The aim is to improve overall attendance figures and reduce the lost days of education which can affect a child’s progress. Your continued support in maintaining our very good levels of attendance is much appreciated.
Full details of the changes in legislation, which replace the 2006 regulation that allowed schools to grant up to 10 days leave of absence at their discretion, can be viewed at the following website; an extract is included below for your information:
We believe that one of the most important factors in promoting good attendance is the development of positive attitudes towards school. We strive to make our school a happy and rewarding experience for all children, and to foster positive and mutually respectful relationships with parents.
By promoting good attendance and punctuality we aim to:
- Make good attendance and punctuality a priority for all those involved in the school community.
- Raise our pupils’ awareness of the importance of good attendance and punctuality.
- Provide support, advice and guidelines to parents, pupils and staff.
- Work in partnership with parents.
- Celebrate and reward good attendance and punctuality.
The DfE has stated all pupils will return to school fulltime from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance also covers expectations for children with Special Educational Needs and disability (SEND), including those with educational health care plans. (Separate guidance is available for early years).
Returning back to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development therefore we need all pupils to return sooner rather than later.
The Risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low. There is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults.
The guidance from the DfE currently allow headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in “exceptional circumstances” of up to ten school days leave per year. Headteachers can also grant extended leave for more than ten school days in exceptional circumstances.
Parents/carers who request term time leave should submit a leave of absence form preferably at least two weeks in advance. This can be requested from the school office. On this form, there should be information as to why the leave should be granted under ‘exceptional circumstances’. If no reason is provided, we cannot judge whether the leave is exceptional, and we will have to refuse the request.
What are exceptional circumstances?
It is the decision of the school as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances and each request for term time leave will be considered on an individual basis. However, the following are often referred to by DfE guidance about what may be considered exceptional circumstances, or may not.
Exceptional leave MAY be:
- Close relative is seriously ill
- Significant trauma or family circumstances and a holiday will benefit the child
- Infrequent or never to be repeated occasion that can only happen at that time, eg family wedding/funeral/family experience
Exceptional leave is NOT:
- Availability of cheap flights and/or holidays
- Availability of preferred accommodation
- Parent/carer work commitments
- Poor weather experienced during school holiday periods.
If leave has been granted in one circumstance, it does not mean it can be granted in the future for a child/family, as granted leave of absence should be a rare occasion.
Additionally, if a child’s attendance is below 95% we will not grant leave, unless under very exceptional circumstances. Equally, if it is early on in the academic year (September/October), the child’s attendance in the previous year will also be taken into consideration.
What if you decide to go anyway?
If the school has not authorised the leave, and your child is out of school for 5 consecutive days or more, then you could receive a minimum fine of £60 per child, per parent/carer.
DfE guidance states: ‘Schools should consider each request individually taking into account the circumstances, such as: the nature of the event for which leave is sought, the frequency of the request; whether the parent gave advanced notice; and the pupil’s attainment, attendance, and ability to catch up on missed schooling’.
Please refer to our attendance policy below: