Attendance, Absences and Holidays

Don’t forget to contact school to report your child’s absence.  This can be done by clicking on Absence in the ParentMail app or phoning the school on 01626 862318.


Regular attendance by students is vital if they are to receive efficient full-time education. Attendance at schools and colleges is governed by the Education (School Attendance Targets) (England) Regulations 2005. These place a requirement on parents to ensure that their children attend regularly and stay at college when it is in session.

For daily absence, please contact the school as detailed above. However, in the event of problems regarding any aspect of attendance other than daily sickness or absence, would parents please initially contact their child’s form tutor.

The Your Child’s Welfare At School section on the DirectGov website contains information on school attendance issues.

How we are encouraging Good Attendance


Absence is divided into uthorised or unauthorised. In the context of the law absence can only formally be approved as authorised by the college.

In order for the college to approve an absence, an explanation for any such absence should be provided either by telephone or in writing to the form tutor on the day of absence or at the latest by the end of the third day of absence. Details can also be written in the student’s planner.

Authorised absences fall into three categories:

  • absence with leave granted by the college
  • absence because of illness or because the child is prevented from attending by an unavoidable cause
  • absence on a day set aside for religious observance by the religious body to which the student’s parents belong

Leave of absence would normally be authorised for:

  • medical or dental appointments supported by an appointment card or parental contact before the appointment
  • music or other examinations
  • special tuition
  • approved sporting events
  • family bereavement

In these cases, permission must be requested in advance using a form available from reception. This form can also be downloaded from the Devon County Council website.

It is worthwhile noting that government regulations expect that leave of absence will not normally be granted for shopping trips, looking after other members of the family, looking after the house or for birthdays.

Holidays during term time

In the interests of continuity of the student’s education, holidays should not be taken during college terms if at all possible. Continuous high levels of attendance are associated with good progress in learning. Forms are available from the student office for this purpose and parents are asked to submit these well in advance of any proposed absence for a family holiday. No permission will normally be granted for holidays removing students during Key Stage 4.

Please note that a request for holiday during term time will not be authorised if a student’s attendance has fallen below 90%.

What you should consider

There are times during a school year when a child may experience particular problems if taking term-time leave, such as:

  • close to or during exams or tests
  • the first year at a new school
  • at the beginning of a new school term

If the college refuses a request for term-time leave and the child is still taken out of school, this will be recorded as unauthorised absence and parents may receive a £50/£100 penalty notice per parent for each child. These penalty notices are issued by the Local Authority, not the college.

The law

The law does not say that parents have an automatic right to take their child out of school for holidays during term-time.

However, in exceptional circumstances the school may authorise, in advance, a request for a period of leave of up to ten school days in any year. The request for leave must come from a parent with whom the child normally resides, and must indicate the reason in detail explaining why the holiday cannot be taken during college holidays.

If a child then stays away from school for more than the authorised period, this must be recorded as unauthorised absence and could be quoted in a prosecution for poor attendance.

Online resources