We know from years of experience that the link between good school attendance and high levels of attainment is well established. We are very concerned that students who are taken on holiday during school time are at risk of achieving less well than they should, and it is our responsibility to make you aware of the following information.
The Local Authority has issued new guidelines for Holidays in Term Time as follows: Time off school for family holidays is not a right. From 1st September 2008 Wiltshire amended its code of conduct to allow the issue of Penalty Notices to parents of pupils for periods of unauthorised holiday absence.
Schools may agree up to 10 sessions “holiday leave” in special circumstances such as:
- when a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis;
- for service personnel and other employees who are prevented from taking holidays outside term time if the holiday will have minimal disruption to the pupil’s education.
- In general the Local Authority expect a school to consider the negative impact that any absence can have on a child’s academic progress, even if a child’s attendance is good, for example at 95% or above.
- the pupil already has poor attendance (below 90%) and the Education Welfare Service is involved or the pupil would miss public examinations such as National Curriculum Key Stage 2 SATS.
- availability of cheap holidays;
- availability of the desired accommodation;
- poor weather experienced in school holiday periods; and
- overlap with the beginning or end of term.In all circumstances of holiday leave, a written application must be made, well in advance of the holiday, by the parent with whom the pupil normally resides. If a pupil accumulates 10 or more sessions (5 days) of unauthorised holiday absence within a 6 month period of the current academic year, the school must notify the Local Authority and a Penalty Notice will be issued to each parent for each child where that applies. A penalty of £60 will apply if paid within 28 days or £120 up to 42 days. If after 42 days the penalty has not been paid, legal proceeding will be taken through the magistrates court for the unauthorised absence.
It is law that the school keeps a record of authorised and unauthorised absences. If your child is absent please notify the school by 9.30 am on the first day and on his/her return, please send a note, which can be addressed to the class teacher. If no phone call is received the school will make contact with the parent.
It is vital that we know where to reach you in an emergency. Please ensure your emergency contacts are up to date, as it can be very distressing for your child if contact cannot be made.