As a family, maybe you are in the process of booking your Summer holidays. It can be tempting for parents to play a little bit with the term dates to get better holiday price deals… But beware, the English legislation takes unauthorized absence by children at school very seriously.
The rules for children’s absences in London State Schools
According to the British legislation, you can only allow your child to miss school if they are ill, or if you have received an advanced authorization from the school.
Getting authorization from the school requires making an application to the head teacher in advance. He/She is the one who will decide if your request will be granted.
Where, previously, head teachers could grant 10 days of authorized absence per year, the law changed in 2013 and the bad news is that now they are unable to grant any, except in exceptional circumstances.
This means Head teachers will not authorize school absence purely for the reason of a family holiday.
The risk, if you still decide to do so, is to get a fine by your Borough or your Local Authority: £60, which rises to £120 if paid after 21 days.
If you don’t pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school.
Prosecution means you could be fined up to £2,500 or receive a jail sentence of three months.
According to the latest statistics provided by the Ministry of Justice, the number of people taken to court for unauthorized absences has surged by nearly two thirds in just four years, with nearly 20,000 people now prosecuted annually.
Whilst booking holidays can be a very pleasant activity, at which date you decide to take them is clearly a serious question, when children attend a state school in London or the United Kingdom.