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Term Time Absence

Holidays in Term Time

There is national concern about the amount of education lost through absence from school. Research shows that holidays in term time have a particularly serious negative effect on a pupil’s progress and can be damaging to their learning and achievement. It is clear that every effort should be made to avoid pupils being absent from school due to holidays being taken in term time. In West Berkshire the number of days lost in this way is considerable.

Analysis of school attendance carried out nationally shows that, as absence increases, pupils’ achievement decreases; the more days holiday absence pupils have, the less likely they are to achieve Level 4 or above at Key Stage 2 in both English and Maths. Results fall for children at both ends of the spectrum, including the more able. This is why we put such emphasis on children attending school consistently, and not being absent for extended periods more than is absolutely necessary.

It is understood there are occasions when a family has no choice about when to take holidays, such as when the whole workplace closes down and all employees take their holiday at that time, or other situations which are outside family control.

Government guidance states that only Headteachers are able to authorise absence from school, but this should only be in exceptional circumstances. Holidays in term time are not a right and should not automatically be granted. Approval will not be given for:

  •  Holidays during SATs week. Parents should check for information on such dates.
  •  Long weekends and ‘odd’ days off.
  •  Holidays which are taken due to availability of cheap holidays or desired accommodation.
  •  Poor weather experienced in school holiday periods.
  •  Overlap with the beginning or end of term.
  •  Holidays for pupils whose attendance is giving cause for concern.
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