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Term Time Leave



The law does not give any entitlement to parents/carers to take their child on holiday during term time. Headteachers have the discretion to authorise leave of absence only in EXCEPTIONAL circumstances and it is only for the Headteacher to determine what is truly exceptional.


School days are precious; children only attend school 190 out of 365 days. There are 175 days a year which parents/carers can use for any activities other than school.


Authorisation is not appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • Pupil’s attendance is less than 97% in the current academic year and 95% in the previous 12 months
  • In SATs Years 2 and 6 or any other public examination years.
  • In a transition year - Year 3, Year 7 
  • At the beginning of any academic year
  • Retrospectively
  • If there are any other attendance concerns such as poor punctuality, student’s ability to catch up on the work missed, etc.
  • If leave of absence has already been taken in the same school year.


Applications for Leave of Absence Requests must be made in advance or the absence cannot legally be authorised.


All requests must be made at least two weeks in advance to the Headteacher by completing the school application form. A parent/carer with whom the child resides must make the application even though the student may not be taking the proposed leave with them. Both parents must sign the request. The form must be fully completed and you will receive a written response confirming if the request will be authorised or not. If leave is granted and you are travelling abroad you will need to supply the school with booking details and confirmation of your return flight tickets.


If you take your child out of school without the school’s prior authorisation the absence will be recorded as unauthorised (which is illegal) and noted in your child’s records. Where a parent/carer has taken their child on unauthorised leave of absence during term time for 5 consecutive school days or more, without authorisation, a Penalty Notice can be issued under the Luton PN Code of Conduct. In these circumstances a warning will not be given. Penalty Notices are per parent, per child as appropriate. Penalty Notices are an alternative to prosecution for failing to ensure a child’s regular attendance and will only be used once per pupil in an academic year before prosecution takes place. Unpaid Penalty Notices appropriately issued, can result in prosecution for the absence in the magistrate’s court. Please see Luton Penalty Notice Code of Conduct for further information. Amendments to The Education (Penalty Notices) Regulations 2007 reduced the timescales for paying a penalty notice. From 1 September 2013 penalty notices needed to be paid within 21 days at £60 or £120 within 28 days. This brings these penalty notices in line with other types of penalty notices and allows Local Authorities to act faster on prosecutions. 10.7 Failure to return to school on the date expected If there is a reason which delays the pupil in returning to school the parent/guardian must inform the school immediately. The school will require evidence of this issue and will then decide whether the absence will be authorised. For any travel arrangements outside of the UK we require proof of return flights, prior to the leave being taken - this may protect you from receiving unauthorised absence for your child and a fine if they are unable to return on the date expected.


Each case will be assessed individually and medical evidence from abroad is not routinely accepted.


Please note prolonged unauthorised absence from school can also result in your child’s name being removed from the school roll and on return you would need to re-apply for another school place.

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