Taking children out of school in term time

You do not have the right to take children on holiday in term time. It is a criminal offence for a parent to 'fail to secure their child's regular attendance at school'.

Head teachers can only give permission to take a child out of school when there are exceptional circumstances.

Details about what the school counts as exceptional circumstances are agreed by the head teacher and governors and included in the school's attendance policy.

If you want to take a child out of school, the parent or carer the child lives with must apply to the school in writing explaining the exceptional circumstances. The head will follow the school's attendance policy to decide whether or not to approve the application. They will then write to you with their decision.

If the head does not approve the application and you still take the child out of school, the school will record the absence as unauthorised. You may then get a school absence penalty notice (fine). 

Page last reviewed: 23 January 2024