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Permission for Child's Time Off in Term Time Due to Holiday

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 7 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Holiday Parent Permission Absence

Even though the much lower cost of holidays during children's school term times encourages many families to look into the idea of taking their child out of school during the academic year to facilitate a cheaper family holiday, the first thing to note is, the law does not allow for this!

Parents do not have an automatic right to take their child out of school for a holiday, because the law (the Education Act) reads that parents have a duty to ensure that their child receives an education, and if your child is attending school, that is the way they receive their education and that should be prioritised over any holiday plans.

Having said that, however, if a reason has cropped up to make families want to take their child away, especially if that is a time-related reason such as a family occasion such as a wedding taking place abroad, then the school may look on the request positively if it is phrased in the correct way.

What Will a School Consider in a Families' Request for Leave from School

Some of the factors that will influence a school's decision about whether they will grant permission for parents to take their children out of school will include the length of the absence, the reason for the absence and the timing of the absence - if your child is about to take public exams such as GCSEs or A Levels, or has only just settled into a new class or year group, the request is less likely to be looked upon favourably.

Bear in mind too that if parents ask permission for their child to miss a period of time from school, then that permission is turned down, but parents go ahead and take their child out of school anyway, then this will be classes as 'unauthorised absence' and parents are liable to be punished, usually through a financial fine but potentially even more serious recriminations.

The letter format laid out below shows you the kind of information that schools need to be informed about in a letter from parents to a school to request a child's absence from school for the purpose of a term-time holiday. It can be used as an example of the best kind of tone to use to contact a school in order to ensure the best nature of response.

The School House
School Lane
Schoolville
England

Parental Address
Family Home
Anytown
England

1 May 2008

Dear Headteacher

Our daughter, Stefanie Hague, is in year 9 at The School House. We as a family have just discovered that a close relative, Stefanie's aunt, is due to get married in Mustique next September, when Stefanie will just have started year 10. This is, as you will realise, awkward timing as we know how important Stefanie's GCSE examinations are, and that at the start of year 10 she will be beginning her preparations for this difficult exams. It is a difficult time to leave school and I know permission is only given in exceptional circumstances for absences from school during the academic term.

However, I'm writing to request that permission as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see an aunty getting married and Stefanie is very close to her aunt, and it would mean a great deal to both of them if we could all attend the wedding. Despite the great distance to Mustique, we would anticipate leaving the UK for only 5 days, two of those weekend, so Stefanie would miss only three days of school. Would you be able to grant permission for this absence? I really hope this would not be impossible.

We await your response: you can contact me, Mother, on 0191 2343 9049 or 0723422342, or email me at mother@parents.com.

With thanks for your time and best wishes

[signature]

Mr and Mrs Hague, mother of Stefanie Hague (form 9b)

Update: Previously, school leaders could grant up to 10 days leave a year for family holidays in special circumstances, but that changed in 2013, under the the former Education Secretary, Michael Gove However, children can still be taken out of school in 'exceptional circumstances'. It is up to the head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.

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Sri - Your Question:
I have 3 kids who are in yr5, yr3 and yr1. I want to take them back to my country on 20th June and stay there for a month. Main reasons for these are to 1. complete Ritual duties in family deities which were promised when my older child was born with club foot, these ritual duties can only be done in special days that happens onece a year when the temples have festivals. 2: for my kids to meet and spend some quality time with their 2 great grand mothers who are very old and are not in good health at the moment. 3:to attend their uncles wedding that's taking place in June. 4:for them to experience their culture and life in a country where their parents came from. 5: to learn their mother tongue which they struggle with even when they attend Sunday school every week where we live. Are these good enough reasons for me to get authorised leave from school?Sri

Our Response:
We cannot advise on this question. It much depends upon the particular policy of your school.
EducationLetters - 8-May-17 @ 1:37 PM
I have 3 kids who are in yr5, yr3 and yr1. I want to take them back to my country on 20th June and stay there for a month. Main reasons for these are to 1. complete Ritual duties in family deities which were promised when my older child was born with club foot, these ritual duties can only be done in special days that happens onece a year when the temples have festivals. 2: for my kids to meet and spend some quality time with their 2 great grand mothers who are very old and are not in good health at the moment. 3:to attend their uncles wedding that's taking place in June. 4:for them to experience their culture and life in a country where their parents came from. 5: to learn their mother tongue which they struggle with even when they attend Sunday school every week where we live. Are these good enough reasons for me to get authorised leave from school? Sri
Sri - 7-May-17 @ 4:46 PM
I'd like to know if I take my son out of school for a family holiday will his biological father be fined as well? He's father only pays CSA but hasn't been apart of his life for 6 years. He doesn't know where my son goes to school or where we live. My husband and my sons other 3 siblings are visiting my father in law but due to his and my husbands work it's going to have to be during school time. We're happy to accept a fine if it can't be granted but I can't afford my son's father finding out.
MoJo - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:31 PM
@Shanw - I'm sure the head will let you have this time off - if you go through the correct procedure. It's not like she's doing important exams or anything. Becs.
BR - 28-Apr-17 @ 12:28 PM
Hi my daughters in reception and is still four years old. I would like to take her away for the weekend for her birthday but as I don't drive and it's over 3 hours away on the trains. I am writing to the head teacher for permission to keep her off school on the Friday otherwise it would be pointless taking her because we'd be spending most of are time traveling. Do you think the school would be ok with this and if not can they do anything If I do let her have it off as she's still four and by law they don't need to start till they're five. Thanks.
Shanw - 27-Apr-17 @ 7:29 PM
Mandy - Your Question:
I have 1 child in year 6 in junior school and another in year 8 secondary school. I would like to know if I can take them out of school for 3 days to go on holiday in may. I know this is termtime but im also a full time carer for my father of 75. I can only get carers to come in these dates as I have had to arrange with them when someone is availble. So it tge only time my kids can have a break and I get to spend quality time with them. Will I get fined

Our Response:
You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school’s permission. Therefore, before you book your holiday, you have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time.
EducationLetters - 24-Apr-17 @ 1:50 PM
I have 1 child in year 6 in junior school and another in year 8 secondary school. I would like to know if i can take them out of school for 3 days to go on holiday in may. I know this is termtime but im also a full time carer for my father of 75. I can only get carers to come in these dates as i have had to arrange with them when someone is availble. So it tge only time my kids can have a break and i get to spend quality time with them. Will i get fined
Mandy - 23-Apr-17 @ 9:38 PM
Hi my twin boys start high school this September. I work for the emergency services and my husbands profession also causes issues. This year we are only able to holiday over Christmas and New year. This will mean that my children would be absent for 1 school week straight after Christmas. Please can you advise? This is only for this occasion, other holidays will be taken outside term time.
Jo - 6-Apr-17 @ 3:55 PM
I want to take my son out for just one day for a modelling shoot for charity I have asked for homework to be given to do on the train but was refused although 2 children in his class have been authorised months out for religious reasons I'm furious
Bren - 6-Apr-17 @ 3:45 PM
Holiday leave to spend time with dying grandparent who has rarely seen grandkids due to distance....not granted, fines issued (unpaid, sling ya hook!!!) Family wedding in greece, all family live within 10miles so reg contact....granted. Utter madness and a shameful disgrace, as are some refusals above, particularly the serbian lady. Difference in termtime prices....25th march 7 day all inc £322 1st april 7 day all inc £776 My kids learn so much from that week in morocco, abt culture religion foodmoney language, abt planes, airports, etc that they wd never have learnt in school. It has to be weighed up n we should stand together as parents who are gradually losing their rights. If noone paid the fine they cant put us all in prison!!! Who is to blame....certainly not me or my kids so why shd we b denied?? Kids get so excited at the build up to a holiday, why shd only the wealthy enjoy the privilege??
Hvtbhwo, jsntveb - 30-Mar-17 @ 1:13 PM
Nina - Your Question:
Hi, I was offered a 1 year training course abroad with great perks and being a single mum with no support system in London it's a must that my 12 year old travels with me because it would benefit her too.Before accepting this offer I need to know the correct way of how to go about communicating the head about my intentions in taking her out of school. It's a great school and I would love her to return n complete the rest of her education like she never left, back to her friends and daily routine.My daughter is my priority so if we travel I would enroll her in a private school, ideally bilingual, to make sure she'll b ready upon her return.I need to know if it would be possible for her school to retain her place?

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the head of the school directly regarding this. However, it is unlikely the head would be able to guarantee your child a place in the school once she has left. The best your daughter's headteacher will be able to do would be to guarantee her a place on the condition the school is not over subscribed.
EducationLetters - 17-Mar-17 @ 2:37 PM
Hi, I was offered a 1 year training course abroad with great perks and being a single mum with no support system in London it's a must that my 12 year old travels with me because it would benefit her too. Before accepting this offer I need to know the correct way of how to go about communicating the head about my intentions in taking her out of school. It's a great school and I would love her to return n complete the rest of her education like she never left, back to her friends and daily routine. My daughter is my priority so if we travel I would enroll her in a private school, ideally bilingual, to make sure she'll b ready upon her return. I need to know if it would be possible for her school to retain her place?
Nina - 11-Mar-17 @ 10:41 PM
ubendem - Your Question:
My grandaughter, Maisie, is in reception year. Her mother and father had arranged a holiday with the paternal grandparents in holiday time this summer. The paternal grandmother runs a nursery in Bury and is limited in the time she has off due to work commitments, as you know, nursery schools never close. It now appears that due to three of her staff having pregnancy issues, they have to move the holiday forward into term time for Maisie.As the paternal parents are paying for the holiday to be with their grand daughter, would it be considered exceptional circumstances, or do Maisie's mum and dad have to accept the fine and go on holiday, or do they cancel and disapoint the grandparents ? We are in Lancashire and the blanket ban on all unauthorised absence is in force, as far as I am aware. The vehemence of the enforcement is such that when a form was requested from the school to apply for an unauthorised absence, I was treated as an imbecile, who clearly wanted to harm Maisie's education, had no consideration for her future, and was clearly unfit to deal with a child of her age. It was really quite shocking to be told by the school secretary that she would do everything in her power to ensure that the fine would be imposed regardless of the circumstances. Bear in mind, at this point neither she or the school are aware of the proposed reason for absence, or indeed the duration.I am already considering a legal challenge and have the funds to do so.Would it be better, in your opinion to apply for absence, have it refused and then defy it. Following this, we would have to see Lancs. in court and see what they are made of. Or.simply remove Maisie from school, ignore them, and being as she is still in reception, simply move to another school. Private if necessary. I'm sure you are aware, that private schools still have head teachers sanction on these matters.Advice soon would be appreciated.Best regards to you and yours.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot give such specific advice or help to sway your decision.
EducationLetters - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:14 PM
My grandaughter, Maisie, is in reception year. Her mother and father had arranged a holiday with the paternal grandparents in holiday time this summer. The paternal grandmother runs a nursery in Bury and is limited in the time she has off due to work commitments, as you know, nursery schools never close. It now appears that due to three of her staff having pregnancy issues, they have to move the holiday forward into term time for Maisie.As the paternal parents are paying for the holiday to be with their grand daughter, would it be considered exceptional circumstances, or do Maisie's mum and dad have to accept the fine and go on holiday, or do they cancel and disapoint the grandparents ? We are in Lancashire and the blanket ban on all unauthorised absence is in force, as far as I am aware. The vehemence of the enforcement is such that when a form was requested from the school to apply for an unauthorised absence, I was treated as an imbecile, who clearly wanted to harm Maisie's education, had no consideration for her future, and was clearly unfit to deal with a child of her age. It was really quite shocking to be told by the school secretary that she would do everything in her power to ensure that the fine would be imposed regardless of the circumstances. Bear in mind, at this point neither she or the school are aware of the proposed reason for absence, or indeed the duration.I am already considering a legal challenge and have the funds to do so.Would it be better, in your opinion to apply for absence, have it refused and then defy it. Following this, we would have to see Lancs. in court and see what they are made of. Or.simply remove Maisie from school, ignore them, and being as she is still in reception, simply move to another school. Private if necessary. I'm sure you are aware, that private schools still have head teachers sanction on these matters.Advice soon would be appreciated.Best regards to you and yours.
ubendem - 7-Mar-17 @ 8:48 PM
My daughter's father lives in China she only gets to see him once a year in September / october meaning 3 weeks off school last year I got fined 60 pound I think this is unfair my daughter is top of the class at all subjects and was home schooled upto year 2
Lottie - 24-Feb-17 @ 7:16 PM
Family wedding. My 2 younger daughter are allowed to have the day off for this. My 12 year old was told no for just 1 day off. She is an excellent student and in the 2 years she has been with the school she has had 30 minutes off. Where do I go from this.
Me - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:22 PM
I live in Australia and my sister, her husband and her son would really like to spend a christmas with us here as we haven't seen them for a long time (My nephew will be in grade 9.As it is a long way to travel they were wanting to add extra time onto the holidays already given at christmas.Obviously they are not looking to get a cheap holiday as this is probably the most expensive time of the year to go. How can we make the application for leave strong?
Aussie - 1-Jan-17 @ 1:00 AM
My daughter will be 4 oct 2017 and enroling in to reception can i take her out for a family holiday in nov my mom hired a cottage for all grandkids forgetting my little one will of started reception what can i do
Bletch - 28-Dec-16 @ 3:17 PM
my father in law pass away this summer, therefore ther was no summer holiday for them.I bought the ticket from 07 of Decembe runtil 31 od December, so they are losing nearly 2 weeks.both of my kids school refused, I need to pay fine. £240 mother and fathewr and 2 school.
Zelly - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:55 AM
My longterm partner and father of our 6yr old son is due to be deported from prison in Switzerlandback to Serbia in November. We have to then try for a visa or through the use of European freedom of movement to bring him back to England so we can be a family unit again. Occasionally when I've had money I've gone with our son for 2 days to visit in the prison. It's not been monthly. My son also had a virus in Sept after going back to school and was of 3 days. I've asked permission to take him out so we can go to Serbia to do the papers and bring my partner back. If it doesn't work, I have no idea when we will see him again. The school have refused permission to go as she says it's not an exceptional circumstance! How many families really go through this trauma?
Spider - 24-Oct-16 @ 9:08 PM
Sree - Your Question:
I have a daughter who is 12 and in year 7,We need to go visit her grand dad in India as he is severely sick and she has not seen him in 2 years and we don't know what will happen if we wait any longer.As it's nearly the end of the year she is having her exams we wanted to leave a week after the exams. Will the school let us? Thank you

Our Response:
You would have to apply to the school directly for this. We cannot speculate what the school may decide. But I imagine schools will not be as strict with the rules after a recent court case fell on the side of the parent for taking his child out of school in term time, rather than the side of the school. As specified in the article, some of the factors that will influence a school's decision about whether they will grant permission for parents to take their children out of school will include the length of the absence, the reason for the absence and the timing of the absence - if your child is about to take public exams such as GCSEs or A Levels, or has only just settled into a new class or year group, the request is less likely to be looked upon favourably.
EducationLetters - 2-Jun-16 @ 2:29 PM
I have a daughter who is 12 and in year 7,We need to go visit her grand dad in India as he is severely sick and she has not seen him in 2 years and we don't know what will happen if we wait any longer.As it's nearly the end of the year she is having her exams we wanted to leave a week after the exams. Will the school let us? Thank you
Sree - 2-Jun-16 @ 12:55 AM
liz - Your Question:
My daughter volunteers at a youth club for disabled kids with physical and mental health problems. They have asked her to go on a holiday to help at a summer camp for the kids.she will only miss the last week of term before the summer hols, of which time they don't do lessons and will only miss school day out and cinema trip and board games. I will not be going and there are other volunteers going. I think this would benefit her more. Thanks she is 15

Our Response:
You would have to send this information directly to the head of your daughter's school if you wish to apply to remove your daughter from school during term time.
EducationLetters - 11-Mar-16 @ 2:39 PM
My daughter volunteers at a youth club for disabled kids with physical and mental health problems. They have asked her to go on a holiday to help at a summer camp for the kids.she will only miss the last week of term before the summer hols, of which time they don't do lessons and will only miss school day out and cinema trip and board games. I will not be going and there are other volunteers going. I think this would benefit her more. Thanks she is 15
liz - 11-Mar-16 @ 8:30 AM
@Scants - if you didn't get permission from the school in the first place, then they will have the right to fine you.
Amy - 2-Sep-15 @ 3:05 PM
We were due to go on Holiday during the Summer Holidays, but my 9 year old daughter broke her arm, due to the severity of the break the hospital advised us not to travel which we passed on to the Holiday Company, all very sympathetic but was advised it would be a complete loss unless we are prepared to move the holiday dates. My daughter is due to come out of plaster in a couple of weeks, on returning to school today we mentioned this to the Head teacher, but his answer was that you will be fined no exception. Surely this can not be legally correct, when I have documentation from the hospital. Kind Regards Carl
Scants - 2-Sep-15 @ 9:04 AM
Nicky - Your Question:
I've have had a fine from head at milborne port primary school for taking my daughter out in May for a week for family wedding ,done everything right ask for a withdrawal but can't seem to get anyone to listen anyone no of any decent help as I'm right on this one thanks nicky

Our Response:
Had the school responded to your request? Was the absence authorised? As specified in the article if the permission is turned down, but parents go ahead and take their child out of school anyway, then this will be classes as 'unauthorised absence' and parents are liable to be punished, usually through a financial fine but potentially even more serious recriminations. You don't say whether the withdrawal was authorised or not, therefore it makes it difficult to respond to your question with a full answer.
EducationLetters - 7-Aug-15 @ 10:11 AM
I've have had a fine from head at milborne port primary school for taking my daughter out in May for a week for family wedding ,done everything right ask for a withdrawal but can't seem to get anyone to listen anyone no of any decent help as I'm right on this one thanks nicky
Nicky - 6-Aug-15 @ 10:34 PM
How about they also change the law to enable employees to have some time off in the school holidays then?!. My husband is not permitted to take any time off in school holidays and has to work every bank holiday and can only claim them back in the winter months.
Bean - 21-May-15 @ 8:56 AM
hi Iam not happy that my kids not a loud a holiday in school time
marsh - 20-May-15 @ 12:46 PM
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