Penalty notices for unauthorised absence
Parents could be issued with a Penalty Notice if their child is absent from school without permission. In Telford & Wrekin, Holiday Penalty Notices (HPN) are issued by the Attendance Support Team to parents who take their children out of school for a minimum of ten consecutive sessions (5 school days) during term time without getting authorisation from the school. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days, per parent, per child. If parent/carers fail to pay the Penalty Notice within 28 days they will be prosecuted under section 444 of the Education Act 1996.
Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted. Millbrook Primary School will ensure that parents are annually aware of our policy on leave during term time through publication on website and within newsletters.
“Blanket approval” or ‘Zero Tolerance’ policies are not acceptable. The following factors should be considered when assessing requests - no one factor should be regarded as conclusive. Millbrook staff will investigate each request individually and consider:
- the length and purpose of the leave of absence
- the duration of the leave of absence and its impact on continuity of learning
- the circumstances of the family and the wishes of parents
- the overall attendance pattern of the child
Where absences are sanctioned, they should be counted as an authorised absence.
Where parents fail to abide by the agreement reached with the school and keep a child away from school in excess of the period agreed or, where parents fail to apply for permission, the extra time taken should be treated as an unauthorised absence.
If the school ever faced difficulties with leave of absence in term time, they may wish to:
- focus on the issue at parents’ meetings
- issue a letter on the subject to parents
- contact the Attendance Support Team for advice and support
All requests for leave of absence should be in writing and the application should be made by a parent with day-to-day care of the child even if they are not actually going on holiday themselves. If the parent with whom the child lives does not give consent to the holiday, leave cannot be given lawfully by the school except by a Court order.