Leeds' education leaders remind parents about new national schools absence policy

Education leaders in Leeds are reminding parents about national changes in the law regarding school term time absence.

Changes to government policy mean that schools across the UK, including those in Leeds, can no longer authorise any requests for children to be taken out of school to go on holiday during term time.

Previously, the council had supported headteachers in allowing up to ten days absence for holidays at their discretion.

But recent changes in the law nationally, which came into effect this month, mean that can no longer be the case, and the council is keen to keep parents across the city up-to-date about possible penalties.

From September 2013, parents who take their children out of school could face a fine of £60 for each period of unauthorised absence.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services in Leeds said: “These changes to schools absence policy in Leeds have come as a direct result of new legislation made by national government and we want to make sure all parents across the city are fully aware of the changes.

“Both the council and all schools must comply with this legislation and we have written to all of our headteachers to advise them of the new national guidelines.

“Until now we have always fully supported headteachers in allowing them to authorise up to ten days absence during term time for holidays at their discretion.

“However, this is no longer the case due to changes in the law nationally and parents may receive a fine of £60 if they take their children out of school without having gained prior authorisation.

“We will now work closely with them to ensure that this change to the law has a positive impact on pupil attendance rates in Leeds.

“Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school, and we have always encouraged parents to think twice before booking holidays during term time.

“Whilst being sympathetic to parents, the importance of good attendance at school cannot be underestimated. Regular attendance is vital in helping children and young people to achieve their full potential and get the best possible start in life.”


Fore more details, contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk