Leeds education bosses have now begun a new ‘zero tolerance’ approach to term-time holidays – andare threatening penalty fines of £60 for unauthorised absences – as they bid to boost attendance and attainment in the city’s schools.
New legislation, enforceable from this month, means that headteachers will no longer be able to authorise any requests for children to be taken out of school to go on holiday during term-time.
Previously, schools were able to authorise up to 10 days of leave from school. However, the new law says that requests for leave can only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and family holidays do not fall into this category.
Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services in Leeds, said: “Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school, and we have always encouraged parents to think twice before booking holidays during term-time.
“Until now, headteachers have had the discretion to authorise up to 10 days absence during term-time for holidays. However this is no longer the case, and parents may receive a fine if they take their children out of school without having gained prior authorisation.
“Whilst being sympathetic to parents, the importance of good attendance at school cannot be underestimated.”