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Term Time holidays (Unauthorised Leave in Term Time)

In January 2019, 5 – 19 Services reviewed Fixed Penalty Notices issued for unauthorised leave in term time (holidays) and it is important that we keep you as parents and carers informed.

Parents who do not pay Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised leave in term time are now facing considerably higher fines in Court than previously seen – often over £500 and as high as £824. Parents also gain a criminal record.

To make you aware of the process and how to minimise the impact on your family we provide the following guidance:

  • There are 13 weeks of school holidays each year in which to take family holidays or other breaks. We strongly recommend that you book your holiday during these times to avoid Fixed Penalty Notices being issued. These dates can be found on your child’s school website or by speaking to school directly. 
  • In the rare event that you still intend to book leave during term time, you are required to make a written request to your child’s Head Teacher. Please include any reasons and complete this as far in advance as possible. Requests will be unauthorised, unless deemed to be due to exceptional circumstances.
  • Once your child’s school have requested that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for a period of unauthorised leave in term time, you will not have an opportunity to discuss this matter further with the Local Authority. Any queries or discussions should be had prior to, or at the time of requesting the leave.
  • Please also be aware that schools will usually know when a pupil is on holiday, even if this is not declared and therefore not requesting this in writing can often still result in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued where a school believes a pupil is on holiday.
  • A Fixed Penalty Notice is currently £60, and can be per parent, per child. If unpaid, this will increase to £120 per parent, per child. You are advised to pay this promptly. Failure to pay this will result in prosecution and you will be required to attend court.

We appreciate that family time or a holiday can be a positive experience and we also recognise that young people should have the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted learning time each year, including being present at the start of the academic year. Regular school attendance is essential not only for academic progress, but in forming and maintaining friendships and feeling settled in school.

If you have any further questions regarding this, please speak to your child’s school in the first instance.

5-19 Services, BCP Council