You may will remember a letter that was sent out previously, on behalf of the local authority, informing you of changes to the regulations around school attendance. The letter said that Hampshire County Council had reviewed their code of conduct for issuing penalty notices for unauthorised absence and all schools are instructed to comply with the new guidelines, starting on 1st September 2015. In light of this, our revised school attendance policy is available below.
In summary, all schools will now be required to work with Hampshire County Council to take legal action if:
A child has unauthorised absence for 10 or more sessions. (equivalent to 5 days)
A child is continually late to school and this lateness is unauthorised for 10 or more sessions.
It is important that parents remember that 1 week (5 days) of absence from school for a holiday taken during term time is recorded in the school register as unauthorised absence and therefore from September such absence will trigger the issuing of a fixed penalty notice by the local authority.
I know there has been a mixed reception to this change; however you will appreciate that the school has no choice but to adhere to legislation. If you believe that the request could be considered an exceptional circumstance then you will need to provide as much information as possible on the form.
Click link below for the full policy & the Hampshire County Council leaflet about penalty notices:
Schools are only able to grant time off school under ‘exceptional circumstances’. Leave is unlikely to be approved for the purposes of a family holiday. There are some reasons for absence that under normal circumstances will be approved without any problems – attending a family funeral, hospital or medical appointments, for example. Even then, requests will only be granted within the bounds of a sensible amount of time. Requests for time off for a day out, because relatives are visiting or for a family member's birthday are extremely unlikely to be authorised.
Parents sometimes wonder why a week or two out in a whole academic year is such a big deal. Surely it won't have a major effect on their children's education? Regardless of the fact that the legislation prohibits Head Teachers from granting leave, except in ‘exceptional circumstances’, taking your children out of school really does have an impact on their education and on the school.
It is not just about the children taken out of school but the disruption it causes their classmates and the system as a whole. This puts enormous pressure on teachers planning lessons around these absences. Time spent out of school during term time is never truly made up. Every day at school counts enormously for pupils but so does every consecutive day attended. Pupils need to be able to absorb new facts and knowledge, acquire new skills and consolidate those skills before building further and progressing. They simply cannot do that if their time in school is disrupted by too many preventable absences.
Great Binfields is part of The Basingstoke Schools' Consortium following DfE guidance.
Should you wish to put in a request for a leave of absence in term time, please download an absence form from this page or request a form the school office.