In 2013 the law tightened so that Headteachers are now only meant to grant a term time leave of absence in ‘exceptional circumstances’. If your request is for a funeral, please go to the bottom of this page for information.

Our new approach is that a leave of absence will be authorised as long as certain criteria are met. If these criteria are not met then an unauthorised absence will lead to a penalty notice. Please note that the penalty notice sent out by the council is a generic form which uses the phrase 'fails to attend regularly' even though the notice may be related to a holiday.

  • Attendance in the rolling year must not below 95% (unless it was an authorised leave of absence in the previous school year that takes it below 95%).

95% is chosen as a round number which is just below the national average (96%) and the Mowden average which is slightly higher still. 5% absence is exactly 9 ½ days, which you might find useful to remember. In practice this means that, for example, if you request an absence for 1st October, then your child’s attendance full the 12 months from 1st October last year will be calculated. This is fairer to you than if we calculated it from just the 1st September in the current year where an occasional day’s absence would then count higher.

  • 10 days absence is the maximum that any child may take.

10 days (2 school weeks) is a historically acceptable figure and quite fair I would suggest in the context of ‘exceptional’.

  • More than one request per school year is not permitted, irrespective of the number of days requested.

In other words, a child cannot keep topping up their requests until 10 days is used up. Any more than one leave of absence would no longer be ‘exceptional’.

  • Year 6 children are not permitted any holidays from September until the end of May.

All schools include this. We don’t want to jeopardise their SATs preparations.

  • There is no automatic parental right to take a child out of school for a holiday and the Headteacher makes the final decision for all requests. No holiday will be authorised in retrospect.

This last sentence makes the point that a parent must always tell us in advance of a holiday absence; it won’t be authorised afterwards.

Please click here to download “An Application for Term Time Only Absence” form.

Click for details of holiday dates for academic year 2018-2019 & 2019-2020.


We treat funerals differently, so that a child can attend the funeral of a loved one. Please fill in the form and specify that it is for a funeral. The Headteacher will decide each one on a case by case basis.