Request for leave from school for holidays

What determines whether a term-time holiday will be authorised?

Decisions on whether to allow a leave of absence during term-time are made by individual schools, not the council.

In deciding whether to allow a leave of absence during term-time, the school's head teacher will weigh various factors, including the child’s age, the time, length and reason given for the absence, the child's previous record of attendance, and the school's own Attendance Policy. Good previous attendance is no guarantee that a request for a holiday will be granted. National legislation makes it clear that term-time holidays are only allowable 'in exceptional circumstances'.

Why are term-time holidays so rarely allowed?

Missing lessons can harm your child's learning:

  • Pupils suffer a break in the continuity of their learning or miss important topics.
  • Pupils lack confidence due to the fact that they have missed mid-topic information and are unable to understand or catch up – much of the work missed is never made up, which puts pupils at a disadvantage at exam time.
  • Your child’s results and progress suffers when they are not in school
  • Disruption to your child’s learning, friendships and social development.

One child's term-time holiday can have a negative impact on their classmates. The time a teacher spends helping one child catch up would have been better-spent teaching the entire class.

When your child attends school punctually and on a regular basis, they take an important step towards reaching their full potential, and are given the greatest opportunity to learn new things and develop their skills. Those attending regularly usually leave school with more qualifications and access to greater employment opportunities.

Who should request a term-time absence, and when?

Request for leave must be submitted by a parent with whom the child normally resides. The request should be made as soon as possible, as there's no formal right of appeal once an unauthorised absence has been taken.

What happens if an absence is not authorised, and is taken anyway?

If the school does not authorise an absence, the school will probably request that Brighton & Hove City Council issue a fixed penalty notice.  Fixed Penalty Notices can also be issued when a child who is is granted leave of absence fails to return by the agreed date.

What if I believe the school's classification of an absence to be unfair?

Although Brighton & Hove City Council issues fines for unauthorised absences, it is the school, not the council, which decides whether an absence should be authorised. If you wish to challenge the school's classification of an absence, please raise this with the school governors (contact details for governors can be found on the school website). Any disagreements should be resolved before the absence is taken, because there's no statutory right of appeal once a Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued.