John Keble CofE Primary School

Faith In Learning

Head of School: Paul O'Brien

Leave of Absence

Absence in Term Time

Please use the Hampshire County Council application form should you wish to request time away from school for your child/children. All applications are received and considered by the Executive Headteacher on an individual basis. The Executive Headteacher will only authorise absence from school during term time for 'exceptional circumstances' however and you must make clear your reasons on the application form. Please come and speak to us for advice if you are not sure if your request would fall into this category. Information for parents on Penalty Notices can be found here  and information on general School Attendance can be found here.

Headteachers must comply with the 2013 amendment to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (2006) Regulations 2013 which means that they cannot authorise a leave of absence from school unless it is exceptional.

Parents/carers must comply with Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 that states that:

“(1) If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.”

“(1A) If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails without reasonable justification to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.”


Of course, we all fall ill from time to time and are unable to go to school or work. Sometimes, accidents happen and the resulting injuries keep us out of action for a while. We may also have hospital appointments that are not possible to rearrange. Absence for these kinds of reasons are recorded as 'authorised absence'.

Occasionally, events happen in our lives which are unfortunate, distressing or unexpected. We have the ability to record these absences as 'authorised' where appropriate.

Other absence (refusal to come in, staying off school without good reason, being very late etc) can be recorded as 'unauthorised absence'. At ten sessions of 'unauthorised absence' we will, in most cases, pursue a Penalty Notice.

Taking family holiday during term time is a different kind of absence. It is something that is usually planned and prepared for in advance and we have to make a decision whether or not the request for this time off school is in 'exceptional circumstances'. If not, the absence will not be authorised and at 10 sessions of 'unauthorised absence' a Penalty Notice is issued, per parent, per child. All applications for absence during term time are considered on an individual basis by the Executive Headteacher, who may also consult other headteacher colleagues (with anonymised information), to ensure that decisions are fair and appropriate.

The expectation is that children are in school, on time, every day unless there are very good reasons for them not to be.

Click here for a Government statement on attendance