The College’s updated policy relating to term term holiday absences was sent to parents and carers on 27th April 2012, as detailed below:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of a change of policy in regard to holidays in term time which may have a direct affect on all parents/carers. The change will take effect from the start of term, September 2012. The Government have directed the Education Welfare Service to take a stronger approach to unauthorised holidays during term time. Specifically where a student has 10+ sessions (5 days) of unauthorised holiday during term time the Education Welfare Service will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to the parents/carers. The fine would be £50.00 rising to £100.00 if not paid within 21 days.
The Government have stated that schools and colleges should not authorise holidays during term time “except in exceptional circumstances”. The Headteacher will make the decision regarding any authorisation. Therefore if a family feels that they have an exceptional situation they should write to the College well ahead of the proposed dates with full details of the circumstances. Without evidence of exceptional circumstances the request will be denied. If approved then this will be recorded and the absence can continue. Where the request is denied this will also be recorded and if the student is taken out from the College during this time the absence will be marked as unauthorised. If the unauthorised absence is ten or more sessions (5 days) then the matter will be referred to the Education Welfare service and a fine will be issued.
Where a fine is issued and not paid the EWS can instigate court proceedings.
It should also be noted that where such a fine is issued and paid the attendance of the student is then monitored and further unauthorised absence could lead to court proceedings.
It is clear that Government policy in relation to all absence from school is becoming stronger so I feel it would be beneficial to reiterate the College policy. If any student is absent from the College for any reason it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to contact the College on the morning of the absence giving the reason for the absence and; if possible, an estimate of a return date. Contact needs to be made on each day of absence. Where a student has a medical appointment during the college day the College should be informed of the appointment in advance in writing. Where possible the student should attend the College before and after the appointment. Details of the College attendance policy are available from the College.