School Time Holidays
1st May 2017
Dear Parents/carers 15th May 2017
We are very proud of your children and the things that they do in school. We are equally proud of the attendance levels here. Our average last year was 96% - the national average is 94.5%.
However, three years ago the Government introduced laws to curb the taking of holidays in school time.
The Legal Position
The old legal position was that schools could legally allow up to 2 weeks (10 school days) holiday for a child. We didn’t like doing it, but there were circumstances where it was necessary.
However, that is no longer the case. In an amendment to the 2006 Education Act, that came into force in September 2013, greater clarity was introduced to the issue of schools authorising absence requests. These changes reinforced the Government’s view that every minute of every school day is vital and that pupils should only be granted authorised absences ‘exceptional circumstances’, the law states,
‘that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.’
Such exceptional circumstances include holidays of servicemen and women and holidays centred around family bereavement. If a child is absent for a holiday other than for exceptional circumstances, parents may be fined by the Local Authority. Normal family holidays are not deemed to be exceptional circumstances. ‘If a child is absent due to a holiday or other unauthorised reasons for 6 days per term (or 10 days over 2 terms) parents must pay £60 per child if they pay within 21 days; or £120 if they pay within 42 days.’ This is not something we are comfortable with, but by law we have to comply with such directives. Therefore we will honour requests already made and signed, but in the future Gatehouse ACE Academy will be bound to operate within the law.
Therefore, we do ask that no holiday time be booked in school time. We will not ask for fines, unless a child’s attendance is poor (nationally defined as under 90%) and a holiday over 5 days in any one term is taken.
At Gatehouse our children matter and every minute of every school day counts. If children’s attendance falls below the expected level for a primary school child, parents will be asked to attend a meeting with myself so we can work in partnership with families to improve their child’s attendance. All our staff are here to support and help children with their attendance. Please do not hesitate to contact the school office to make an appointment with me if you wish to express any concerns over attendance or you have any queries you want answered.
Thank you for your support and understanding in this matter.
Mr David Batchelor (Head teacher)