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The Bishop of Winchester Academy

The Bishop
of Winchester

Absence Requests in Term Time

Changes in Criteria for Holiday Absence Requests Starting 01 September 2013

Michael Gove, the State Secretary for Education, is introducing new changes in relation to parents taking students out of school during term time.  These changes will take effect from 1 September 2013.

Current Guidelines

Regulations currently allow Headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in “special circumstances”; this was allowed up to 10 days per academic year.

New Guidelines

Amendments to the 2006 guidelines remove references to holiday and the statutory 10 days.  The amendments make clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.

Exceptional Circumstances

Though there is a small amount of discretion under the ” exceptional circumstances “ this does not cover situations like cheap holiday availability, birthday treats, better weather, family weddings (unless a parent), sporting events, extended weekend breaks, family get-togethers or newspaper holiday promotions. These are a few examples but there are many other circumstances when schools will not be able to agree to absences.

Procedure to apply for absence from September 2013

The Bishop of Winchester Academy does appreciate the financial situation that parents find themselves in, especially during these difficult times.  However we have to balance this with Governments regulations and our commitment to students’ education.

We would ask that parents complete absence applications as usual, reading carefully the guidelines set out on the form.

Applications will not be considered without a detailed explanation of why the circumstances are “exceptional”. Students who have below 95% attendance, are making below expected progress, or are in a GCSE year (9,10,11) will have absence requests refused.

What will happen if I take my child on holiday without approval from the Academy?

If you take your child away and approval has not been granted the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.  If a student has irregular and/or poor attendance a Penalty Notice may be issued and a fine of £60/£120 per parent per child be levied against the parent/parents.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact either the Attendance Officer or the Education Social Worker.



Dear Parent/Guardian/Carer

Please read through our information and guidelines/legislation before completing the application form below. Guidelines are obtained directly from the DfE.

  • Parents do not have an absolute right to remove their children from school during term time. Under new legislation the Academy will refuse permission for you to take your child on holiday during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. This does not cover situations like cheap holidays, birthday treats, better weather, family weddings (unless a parent), sporting events, extended weekend breaks, family get togethers, newspaper holiday promotions. These are just a few but there are many other circumstances when we will not be able to agree to an absence. If you still decide to take your child out of the Academy you may receive a Penalty Notice (please see P N section below).
  • Each request for absence is considered individually. If the request is considered to be ‘exceptional’ we will still take the following into account when considering the request. The age of the child, the time of year, the proposed trip and its nature or purpose, the students ability to catch up on work missed and their educational needs, the overall attendance of the student historically and currently, their current levels of progress and the length of the absence requested.
  • A student missing 2 weeks of education to go on holiday will miss approximately 50 hours of learning. Some students never manage to catch up, this will have an adverse effect on their academic progress.
  • Attendance and attainment are linked, statistics prove having an attendance percentage less than 90% can lead to a student dropping a GCSE grade, for example a C grade to a D grade.
  • We will not agree to holiday during annual, GCSE, internal, modular exams or assessments. Therefore, please check there are none scheduled during the time you are requesting. Requests will not be authorised if this is the case. Please remember that students in Year 10 take modular and GCSE exams throughout their year as well as Year 11. Please see Penalty Notice section below.
  • Holiday requests will not be authorised for any Year 11 or for any student whose attendance is less than 95% regardless of circumstances. Please see the PN section below.
  • If the Bishop of Winchester Academy does not agree to the request and the student is absent during the request period, the absence will be classed as unauthorised. The Principal may ask the ESW (Education Social Worker) to issue a Penalty Notice which carries a fine of £60 to £120 per parent per child. Please see Penalty Notice section below.



If The Bishop Of Winchester Academy refuses the request due to any of the reasons above and the decision is taken by the parent/carer to still take the student away, The Principal may request that the ESW proceed with a Penalty Notice under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996.

This will result in each parent/carer that resides with the child, being fined £60, payable in 28 days or £120 if paid within 42 days. Failure to pay the fine would then lead to a criminal prosecution.


Please complete  Absence Request Form and send the completed form to the Attendance Officer at Please contact the Attendance Officer or Education Social Worker if you are unclear on any of the above points.








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