Ensuring your child has access to a good education is very important. A key part of this is for all children and young people to regularly attend school, as this gives each learner the best chance to achieve their full potential.
In light of the recent Isle of Wight court case and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling on school absences, Staffordshire Local Authority has clarified its position for parents where there may be the potential for any ambiguity and to also ensure we are fully compliant with legal requirements.
As a result, changes have been made to Staffordshire’s guidance to schools, parents and carers regarding absence from school. The new guidance will come into force from 1 January 2018 and is detailed below:
Penalty Notice for leave of absence (holiday) in term time
From 1 January 2018 any period of unauthorised leave may result in a parent receiving a penalty notice fine. The head teacher is the only person able to authorise leave in term time, but this can apply only in exceptional circumstances. Any unauthorised absence will be referred by your head teacher to the local authority.
Penalty Notice for persistent lateness
Previously a pupil had to achieve 20 unauthorised late marks before a penalty notice warning could be issued. This has now changed to 10 marks, and late marks do not have to be one after the other in order for the penalty notice to be issued. You are therefore encouraged where possible to ensure your child attends school on time. However, if your child is late you must inform the school of the reason(s) why, as they may be able to offer you some form of advice or support.
Period of time used to measure persistent absence and lateness
If your child has had 10 days unauthorised absence or is late 10 times over a twelve week period, you may receive a penalty warning notice and also potentially a fine.
Further details and a copy of the revised Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices can be obtained from the council’s website www.staffordshire.gov.uk/education.
The vast majority of children and young people in Staffordshire have an excellent record of school attendance, and Staffordshire Local Authority recognises the efforts of so many parents to ensure their children attend school regularly. The Local Authority will take appropriate action for absences during term time, to ensure local children can continue to achieve the best possible outcomes from attending local schools.
A holiday request form can be downloaded from the Useful Information/Useful documents section of the website.
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