Reporting student absence
Please use our dedicated telephone number or email address to inform us if your child will not be school.
01590 613440 firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of office hours this will go to an answerphone; after the beep, please tell us the following information:
- Your name
- The name of the student who will be absent or late;
- Their year and tutor group; and
- The reason for absence.
Parents should contact the school EVERY DAY that their child is absent from school. If this is not done then a text will be sent informing parents of their absence.
Holidays during Term Time and Other Leave of Absence
Parents will already be aware of the law relating to family holidays taken in term-time. (see The Department for Education website).
The law makes it clear that parents must avoid taking holidays in term time because absence from school can seriously impact on student learning. Whilst there may be occasions when a student is unable to attend school (e.g. illness), all other absences should therefore be kept to a minimum and if at all possible avoided.
The regulations make it clear that parents do not have the right or an entitlement to take a child out of school for the purposes of a family holiday during term time and that the Headteacher is not able routinely to authorise holidays in term time for any student.
Regulations do, however, permit a Headteacher to agree to a request from a parent for a student to be granted “leave of absence”. Leave of absence may be granted in special or exceptional circumstances only.
For more information, please see below.
The fact a holiday is cheaper during term time will not be considered as “special” or “exceptional” circumstances. The following are examples of the criteria for leave of absence, which may be considered as “exceptional”:
- Service personnel returning from active deployment
- Where inflexibility of the parents’ leave or working arrangement is part of the organisational or company policy. This would need to be evidenced by the production or confirmation from the organisation/company
- Where leave is recommended as part of a parents’ or child’s rehabilitation from medical or emotional problems. Evidence must be provided.
- When a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis
Ultimately, however, it is for the Headteacher to decide if the circumstances are “special” or “exceptional”.Each request for leave of absence will be considered by the Headteacher on an individual basis. In deciding whether or not to approve a request, as well as considering the circumstances surrounding the request, the Headteacher is also likely to take into account:
- the age of the student
- the time of the year proposed for the holiday
- the overall attendance pattern of the student and
- the student’s stage of education and progress.
Priestlands School will not normally approve a request for leave of absence if, as a result of so doing, the child's attendance for the year as a whole would fall below 95%.Fact:
Hampshire County Council Children’s Services Department will always support a headteacher’s decision to refuse a request for leave of absence for a family holiday during term time.
If my request is approved
If the request is approved by the Headteacher, the student’s absence will be recorded as ‘authorised’ for the agreed period of absence. If the student does not return to school following the agreed period of “authorised absence” however, unless the extended period of absence is due to some “unavoidable” cause e.g. illness, the extended period of absence will be recorded as “unauthorised”.
If my request is not approved
If the request is not approved by the Headteacher and the parent proceeds to take the student out of school for a family holiday, all of the absence during this period will be recorded as “unauthorised”.
Parents who take a child on leave in term time without the permission of the school risk being issued with a penalty notice fine for unauthorised absences. The current fine is £60 per parent per child, if paid within 21 days of the penalty notice being posted. If the fine is not paid within 21 days the Penalty is automatically increased to £120 if paid within 28 days. If the fine remains unpaid the Hampshire County Council will consider prosecution for the non-attendance.
What happens if the absence is “unauthorised”?
Where a student has irregular attendance and the absences are unauthorised, the parents are committing an offence and could either be issued with a Penalty Notice or prosecuted under the Education Act, 1996.
With the implementation of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003) the Local Authority has statutory powers to use Penalty Notices to help tackle irregular school attendance and unauthorised absences. An unauthorised absence is any absence for which the school has not given permission or for which the parent/carer has been unable to provide a reason that is acceptable to the school.
From September 2015, where a child has unauthorised absence the school is expected to enforce Hampshire’s Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices. The Code of Conduct is a statutory document that ensures that powers for legal sanctions are applied consistently and fairly across all schools and their families within the authority.
Where a student has 10 or more unauthorised absences (5 days) due either to a holiday that has been taken without permission or the refusal of a parent/carer’s request for leave of absence unauthorised absence is for 10 or more sessions (5 days) a penalty notice for non-attendance mayl be issued.
Unless the issuing of a Penalty Notice would conflict with other intervention strategies in place or other sanctions already being processed, Priestlands School or Hampshire Local Authority may issue a Penalty Notice for any unauthorised absence where the student has been:
- absent or late for 10 or more half-day sessions (five school days) during any 100 possible school sessions – these do not need to be consecutive;
- or absent for 1 or more sessions during a public exam, formal school assessment of testing where dates are published in advance.
For each case of unauthorised absence the school or Hampshire County Council will decide whether a Penalty Notice is issued to one or more parent/carers for each child. This could mean four penalty notices for a family with two siblings both with unauthorised absence for holiday (one penalty notice for each child to each parent).
Each penalty notice carries a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days of the penalty notice being posted. If the fine is not paid within 21 days the Penalty is automatically increased to £120 if paid within 28 days. If the fine remains unpaid the Hampshire County Council will consider prosecution for the non-attendance.
For further information parents/carers can request a leaflet from the school or visit the Hampshire County Council website.
You can find the latest information about Fixed Penalty Notices on the Hampshire County Council website, specifically their Guidance Leaflet.