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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks for your time and best wishes
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.
I have to write a letter to the school principal extending school holidays another 8 days of my daughter, regardinggo to Japan for extending the VISA for shes brother please make the sample letter for me
Gayan - 20-Jan-20 @ 6:19 AM
My mother in law is in hospital and my father in law is suffering from cancer and because of these circumstances we planned to go back to philippines to visit them. I requested for my 4yrs old daughter for school leave for 13 days and it was declined by the headteacher. She mentioned that I will be fined or prosecuted if I will go ahead. Is thereanything I can do as we really need to travel soon.
Sophie - 23-Nov-19 @ 12:05 AM
I am looking into taking my 4 and 7 year olds out of school for three days to go to Disneyland Paris. There are no ‘exceptional circumstances’ - it’s just so much cheaper than going at any other time. From what I understand I won’t get fine for my 4 year old but I will for my 7 year old? Per day? Will read up on the school policy.
Bubbly - 10-Nov-19 @ 5:53 PM
Regarding 4 year olds you will not get fined if you take them out of school for holidays! Your child legally does not have to attend school until the term after they turn 5 years old so the school/county council can not fine you during this period of time. Once they have turned 5 and the next term has stated then they can fine you but not beforehand.
D.parsons - 20-Oct-19 @ 10:22 PM
My nephew is 10 years old. He is the current county swimming champion for his age group and is ranked 10 nationally. My sister, his Mum, recently asked the school if he could have a week out of school in October 2019 to attend his swimming clubs annual swimming training week. This is not a holiday - he will be swimming for approx. four hours every day and doing land training. This swim week normally happens in half term - but because his school is in a different county to his swimming club (although they are next door to each other) the half term holiday has been scheduled at a different time. The school have refused permission. This is so upsetting given his ability as a swimmer and his ambition to be an Olympic swimmer. Is there any further advice you can give on how to pursue this? He has excellent attendance. I am so disappointed that the school is not supporting him in this.
Rosh - 3-May-19 @ 1:36 PM
My child is age 4 he is in Reception and he got some disability (autyzm)we have up coming holiday in couple days for 7 days ,he will be out of school for 5 days
School is closed ,what do l do ?
Anetka85 - 17-Apr-19 @ 8:15 PM
I am trying to write a letter to request that my grandson can have 17 days of school to take him to the Scottish islands an opportunity he will ever get again in his young years he is ten years old.How do I approach the school to write th letter I have no idea what to write and ajykne help me
Dontbenosey - 24-Mar-19 @ 9:44 PM
Funny that when someone asks a question relating to age it cannot be answered. We get a "you'll be fined etc" but when someone asks about a child not turning 5 yet we are told its school policy and we need to check with the individual school. Hold on a minute its either THE LAW or its not. we are getting continual mixed messages. I have been told twice by different schools that until a child turns 5 there is no legal requirement to get authority for holidays. The permission/authorisation starts at age 5. Can we have a clear response. The parents of both my grandchildren aged 4where told quite clearly "Don't worry they are only 4" permission is not needed .....
c - 16-Mar-19 @ 10:00 PM
Both my children are in the same academy. My son is in the secondary and my daughter in the primary. We require one day for my son as it will tag onto a half term and as he has an inset and two for my daughter. We are flying abroad to my grandma, their great grandma 90th birthday. If this isn’t deemed exceptional I really don’t know what is. We planned and schedule the party to be as close to half term as possible. But flight times (12/13 hours means we are required to fly out a couple of days before). My children have had 100% attendance for all their school life. We’ve now been told or one and two days are denied and unauthorised without explanation. Yet we know of friends who go to uncles weddings for a day or Australia for 2/3 weeks getting the max days authorised and balanced unauthorised with the rest in holiday time - their reason? To visit grandparents too.
I am not understandingthe inconsistency and ask for clarification but just get told it’s our policy as an academy. This doesn’t answer my question.
I ask for one two days and get denied but some asks for 10 and receives it? Justifiable??
My children will continue to do home learning while away as well as they to extra curricular maths. Learning continues even will abroad in our home country.
May - 14-Dec-18 @ 9:39 AM
I would like a letter to send to my sons Headteacher, I am going on holiday on the 3rd December this year. For 10 days. I am going away to visit my friend in Dubai. She has recently had twins and we would love to go over and stay with her. I work as a Head Swimming Teacher in a leisure centre so I can never take annual leave during haft terms. Because the centre is so busy. Also I am a single mother and obviously the flights are cheaper in term time.
Lil - 8-Nov-18 @ 9:09 PM
Hi I have given my son's school 8 months notice of a exceptional circumstances to take him out for 9days to visit his aunt and uncle who has cancer it is a once in a life time trip and unfortunately fell in term time. My son has great attendance. I did state any future holidays will be in school holidays. It has not been approved. What do they deem exceptional? Once not approved what can I do?
Lucy Senior - 17-Sep-18 @ 4:25 PM
My daughter is in year 1 and we just found out that my mother is critically ill. I want to take my daughter to see her grand mother out of country for 3 weeks in start of the term September 2018, please guide me how to seek permission because the school is closed.
Please reply to my given email.looking forward for reply.
naz - 19-Aug-18 @ 9:37 AM
hi I was wondering if you could help me write a persuasive letter to my headteacher about us not gettingfine due to us having a holiday. it would really mean a lot to me . my grandmother is unfortunately ill and we would like to visit her in another country.please reply back on this website. thank you
yusufali - 11-Jun-18 @ 7:07 PM
I'm goin out for some holiday because my uncles wedding and I want to take 2 weeks off and I'm in year 9 started 2 terms passed can I get them
Bilal - 3-Jan-18 @ 9:32 PM
Hi, my husband has appointment in hospital. He has broken hand, and I have to take him to hospital for scan. The head teacher refused to take my child 1h early from school. Help!I don't know what to do.
Ingas - 3-Oct-17 @ 6:10 PM
Bex - Your Question:
I have a letter from work giving me dates of my holidays I can take next year as a bus driver we carnt swap those dates 24th June my child as just turned 4 can we take that holiday
As specified in the article, you would have to approach the school directly to request this time, as only the school can give you the answer.
EducationLetters - 15-Sep-17 @ 12:55 PM
I have a letter from work giving me dates of my holidays I can take next year as a bus driver we carnt swap those dates 24th June my child as just turned 4 can we take that holiday
Bex - 14-Sep-17 @ 1:38 PM
Lil - Your Question:
My daughter is 4 and in reception. I am taking her on holiday for 5 days during term time. Will I be fined? Thanks
As specified in the article, you have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time, please see link here . If you do not get consent from the school, you risk being fined.
EducationLetters - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:33 PM
My daughter is 4 and in reception. I am taking her on holiday for 5 days during term time. Will i be fined? Thanks
Lil - 7-Sep-17 @ 7:32 PM
Is it true that i won't receive a fine for taking my little boy out of reception for a holiday in may (next year 2018) as he only turns 5 on 26th July?
Mrs_Kirk - 5-Jun-17 @ 4:41 PM
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
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 - 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
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??