Parents should not take children out of school because of the effect that absence has on children’s educational progress.

Schools expect parents to support their children’s learning by ensuring that they attend regularly and punctually. Family holidays should be taken during the school holidays when the children can enjoy them without their education being affected. There is no right to take leave or a holiday in term time.

Tower Hamlets Council has advised headteachers and governing bodies that applications for leave in term time should not normally be approved. In most cases, schools will refuse the request and the child’s place will not be held open indefinitely. The local authority advises parents to alter their travel arrangements to coincide with school holiday periods. It is better to make sure your children’s school places are safe by keeping them in school.

Taking children out of school can disrupt their education:

  • many children who go on leave in term time do worse in national tests and examinations;
  • children who do not take leave in term time are likely to do better in tests;
  • the absence from school will be marked as unauthorised;
  • your children’s school places may be lost and they may not be able to return to the same school;
  • often the nearest school with a place is a long way from home;
  • days missed from school due to leave in term time may lead to your child being identified as having Persistent Absence;
  • where children’s attendance is poor, unauthorised leave may be taken into account when parents are prosecuted for failing to send their children to school regularly.

[Taken from Starting school in Tower Hamlets guide for parents 2014/15. Section 5, page 37]

Paradigm Trust schools will automatically refer children to the Attendance and Welfare Service for a penalty notice if children miss school for three or more days without authorisation from the school.  The local authority will issue a fine of £60 per parent/carer, per child and this is payable within 21 days. If the fine is not paid within the 21 days, parents/carers have a further seven days to pay a higher amount of £120 per parent per child.  Failure to pay the fine will result in prosecution by the local authority.

Last updated August 25, 2022