It is widely known that the link between a pupil’s attendance and attainment is evident. Early poor attendance habits follow through into secondary school and employment. Any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school (above 96% attendance) is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility - parents, pupils and all members of school staff. In May 2022, the Government issued a new document - 'Working together to improve school attendance.' This document outlines the importance of children attending school, and makes the responsibilities of all involved in a childs education clear, including parental responsibility:
"It is the legal responsibility of every parent to make sure their child receives that education either by attendance at a school or by education otherwise than at a school."
"Where parents decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends that school regularly. This means their child must attend every day that the school is open, except in a small number of allowable circumstances such as being too ill to attend or being given permission for an absence in advance from the school."
In 2013 the Department for Education (DfE) amended the 2006 regulations, removing references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances; and that Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.
In response to the changes in school attendance law Hampshire County Council has reviewed its ‘Code of Conduct’ and further advice and guidance for parent/carers with respect to this is available via our county website.
In cases of exceptional circumstances, leave may be applied for by completing a form that is available from the school office. The leave of absence form serves as a Penalty Notice Warning letter and any unauthorised absence during this period of time may be subject to a penalty notice for non attendance.
If term time leave is taken without prior permission from the school, the absence will be unauthorised and if the number of sessions absent hits the thresholds set out in Hampshire’s Code of Conduct, parents will be issued with a fixed-penalty fine.