We have started to receive a couple of requests for holidays during term-time. We appreciate that issues such a leave entitlement, family celebrations and so on mean that taking time off during school holidays can be difficult at times. We would ask you to note the following, however.
With effect from 1st September 2017, we have decided (in light of the fact that attendance was indicated by OFSTED as an area in need of improvement) that families taking holidays in term-time will be subject to local authority policy and procedures regarding the issuing of penalty notices (as is the case with all other Southport schools). This applies to all families who are unable to satisfy the criteria of exceptional circumstances and reflects practice in other schools and colleges.
Please do not be offended if what seems to be a reasonable request is refused. It is not that we are unsympathetic; rather that term-time absence is to be regarded as only allowed in exceptional circumstances.
In order to consider an absence as exceptional circumstances, the following definition applies:
“That requests are rare, significant, unavoidable and short.”
The following extract from guidance issued by the NAHT (National association of Headteachers) is included for your information. It is not exhaustive but gives a flavour of the standards that we are expected to apply and for which we are held to account.
Term times are for education. This is the priority. Children and families have 175 days off school to spend time together, including weekends and school holidays. Heads will rightly prioritise attendance. The default school policy should be that absences will not be granted during term time and will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.
If an event can reasonably be scheduled outside of term time then it would not be normal to authorise absence. Absence during term time for holidays/vacations is therefore not considered an exceptional circumstance.
Absences to visit family members are also not normally granted during term time if they could be scheduled for holiday periods or outside school hours. Children may however need time to visit seriously ill relatives.
Absence for a bereavement of a close family member is usually considered an exceptional circumstance but for the funeral service only, not extended leave.
Absences for important religious observances are often taken into account but only for the ceremony and travelling time, not extended leave. This is intended for one off situations rather than regular or recurring events.
Schools may wish to take the needs of the families of service personnel into account if they are returning from long operational tours that prevent contact during scheduled holiday time.