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Jericho Primary School...where a smile is always returned

Leave of Absence - Exceptional Circumstances

Leave of Absence during term time

  • Leave of absence during term time will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.
  • The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time. The Department for Education allows a Head Teacher the discretion to consider authorising a leave of absence in term time only in “exceptional circumstances”.
  • No Holidays taken during term time will be authorised.
  • The law states that the provision for Head Teachers to authorise absence purely for the purpose of a family holiday is not an exceptional circumstance.
  • We define ‘exceptional circumstances’ as an event or problem which you did not expect.
  • The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the Head Teacher’s discretion.

Valid reasons for exceptional circumstances / authorised absence may include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments or where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.
  • Service personnel returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong.  If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart.
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a Traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision
  • Bereavement, unexpected personal or family problems or illness might be considered as an exceptional circumstance.
  • To attend a wedding of a person close to the family – up to 1 day.

The school will identify pupils and families where attendance is poor and meetings, letters, closer monitoring may be considered as detailed above.


Evidence would be required in each case to support any application for leave. The school will not condone holidays taken during term time, permission for absences in term time may only be granted for exceptional circumstances. When a request is not authorised, parents have the right of representation to the School governors.


If a request meets the above exceptional circumstances but falls within the following times, the Head teacher must be convinced that absence from school is the only option:

  1. The first half term of any academic year (applies to all pupils)
  2. Year six transition days (for pupils in year six)
  3. Year six SAT’s week(for pupils in year six)
  4. Year two – SAT’s week (week to be decided by school)


  • Parents and carers must complete a ‘Leave of Absence’ form outlining in writing the “exceptional circumstances”. The head teacher may invite you to attend a meeting to discuss your request. This must be done at least 2 weeks prior to the leave (except for a bereavement).
  • All unauthorised absences, including holidays that have not been sanctioned by the Head Teacher, are accumulated and parents who fail to ensure regular attendance of their children at school can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. The amount is £60 (per parent per child) if paid within 21 days and £120 (per parent per child) if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution, except in limited circumstances.