St Edward's Church of England Academy


Reporting Student Absence

Student Absence Line: 01708 771111

If a student is going to be absent from school, parents/carers should telephone the dedicated Student Absence Line. This is an answer machine dedicated to absence calls.

Please telephone as early as possible and before 9am. If the absence is longer than one day, daily calls should be made to report ongoing absence. If a student has a medical certificate and will be absent for a longer period, the medical certificate should be provided and addressed to the Attendance Coordinator, Main School Office.

Schools have a safeguarding duty, under Section 175 Education Act (2002), to investigate any unexplained absences.

Holidays during term-time and authorised absences from school

Parents/carers are legally responsible for ensuring their children receive education in accordance with Section 7 of the Education Act (1996). Parents/carers are responsible for ensuring that their children regularly attend school. Failure to do so is an offence under Section 444 of the Education Act (1996).


No. The Headteacher cannot and will not authorise absences purely for a family holiday. In September 2013, the Government removed the right for Headteachers in England to approve absences of up to 10 days a year for family holidays. Headteachers no longer have the power to use their discretion to authorise absence in ‘special circumstances’. The new rules of 2013 introduced the tougher criteria of ‘exceptional circumstances’. Therefore, parents/carers have no legal right to take their children out of school during term time for holidays. Term dates are published in advance, these can be viewed on the school website so that holidays can be planned accordingly.

If an absence request is declined and a student is still taken out of school, parents/carers can face a maximum fine of £120 per pupil, per parent. Those who refuse to pay may be summoned before the Magistrates’ Court to explain the unauthorised absences. If prosecuted, parents/carers can be fined up to £2,500. The Magistrates’ Court has the power to issue a jail sentence of up to three months.

There is a discretionary power held by the Headteacher to authorise absence in ‘exceptional circumstances’. If parents/carers feel they have an exceptional circumstance, permission must be sought from the Headteacher prior to making any arrangements or taking any absence. Parent/carers should be aware that this is a request and not an entitlement.

A family holiday is not considered to be an ‘exceptional circumstance’.

Please note: The Headteacher will not authorise an absence if is believed it is to the detriment of a child’s education (i.e. when pupils are taking their GCSE or A Level exams).
If a request is authorised, parents/carers are required to ensure their child catches up on any missed school work. This is the responsibility of parents/carers and the school is not obliged to provide work to complete.
Any unauthorised absence will be recorded on the student’s attendance record. Parents/carers should be aware that his may result in legal proceedings against them, either through a Penalty Notice Fine or the Magistrates’ Court.

If you wish to discuss matters prior to submitting a request, please attend Headteacher’s Surgery to discuss further.

St Edward’s Church of England Academy strongly advises that parents/carers do not plan for their child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from the Headteacher. Parents/carers must provide a written request along with accompanying evidence to the Headteacher for consideration. The Headteacher will make a decision based on the information provided and will communicate the decision in writing.
If you wish to discuss matters prior to submitting a request, please attend Headteacher’s Surgery to discuss further.

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