Holidays during term time

The law states that for your child to be considered to attend school regularly they must be at school every day they are required to be there by the head teacher. This was confirmed in a Supreme Court ruling in 2017.

Therefore, you have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time.

You can only do this if you make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with). The head teacher will then decide whether to agree the leave of absence and whether this is marked as authorised or unauthorised in the attendance register.

Please note that head teachers are only permitted to agree a leave of absence in term time for exceptional circumstances.

It is at the discretion of the head teacher to determine how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.

Fines and prosecution

You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the head teacher's permission.

Penalty notices are issued at £120 (per child, per parent) and must be paid within the statutory 28-day deadline. Penalty notices are only reduced to £60 if they are paid in full, within 21 days of issue. All fines must be paid within 28 days of issue otherwise you may be prosecuted in court.

If you are prosecuted at court you could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence of up to three months. The court could also give you a Parenting Order.

Parents who decide not to pay a fine and contest the matter in court should seek legal advice before doing so.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the Penalty Notice Fine you have received please review the FAQs [PDF].

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