Family Holidays in Term Time


Each year a number of children are absent from school because their parents/carers take them away on holiday during term time. A student’s absence can seriously disrupt the continuity of their learning. Not only do they miss the teaching provided on the days they are away; they are also less prepared for lessons upon their return. Consequently, there is a risk of under achievement, which we must seek to avoid.

Many parents/carers say that the time their child misses because of a holiday, doesn’t affect their school work. However, a child who has 10 days holiday each year of their school like will miss 24 weeks (most of a school year) of their formal education. This is in addition to unavoidable absences – for instance, if your child is ill.


In Gloucestershire, schools and Education Services are working together to promote high rates of attendance and operate the following procedures:

  • Parents/carers have access to information about the school’s policy regarding Family Holidays in Term Time.
  • Parents/carers who take their children on holiday without the absence being authorised by the school will receive a written warning that legal action may be taken if there are further unauthorised absences.
  • If parents/carers take their children on holiday without the absence being authorised a second time, the school will request the Local Authority issue a Penalty Notice.
  • In some circumstances, a Penalty Notice may be issued in respect of a first unauthorised absence; where a child would miss an exam or test for example. 

Please do not ask for leave of absence for a family holiday in term time if you can possibly avoid it.

If you do have to ask for permission to take your child out of school for a holiday:

  • Try to avoid periods when your child is preparing for or taking examinations or important tests.
  • Give at least two weeks' notice of any planned absence.

Every request for a holiday in term time should be addressed to the Head Teacher who will consider each case individually. However, the most important consideration will be the effect that such an absence will have on your child’s education.

Schools do not have to agree to absence for a holiday. We cannot and will not authorise absence for holidays in term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Such authorisation is therefore rare.

Reducing absence from school is a key priority nationally and locally because missing school damages a student’s attainment levels, disrupts school routines and the learning of others and can leave a student vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and youth crime.

Above all, missing school seriously affects children’s longer-term life opportunities.

Penalty Notices

Under existing legislation, parents/carers or carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend school regularly and their absences are not authorised by the school. Depending on circumstances, such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced the Penalty Notice as an alternative to prosecution.


Penalty Notices are issued to each parent of each child. The penalty is £120 per parent per child. If payment is made within 21 days, the penalty is reduced to £60. If payment is not made within 28 days, parents/carers will be prosecuted in the Criminal Court where on conviction they may be fined up to £1000.


The Education Welfare Officer for Maidenhill School is Sharon Goodson. If you have any questions regarding this leaflet, you can contact her at the school.


Gloucestershire County Council Education Performance and Inclusion Team

Shire Hall

Westgate Street


GL1 2TP. 

Telephone: (01452) 426960