Attendance of Looked After Children at School



This guidance highlights the need for all children who are enrolled and normally attending school to attend, unless very exceptional circumstances apply.

It has been noted in research that across the entire educational spectrum, there has been an increasing tendency for carers and parents to take children and young people out of school during term time to go on holiday. The reasons for this are normally those of cost and availability of holidays.

Looked after children will by definition have had a fragmented emotional experience prior to entering the care system. Sometimes school will have been the only constant in their lives, and a place where they have been able to form consistent and trusting relationships, and develop resilience.

It is also well documented that the average educational achievements of looked after children fall way behind those of other children who are not in the care system. They therefore need the best possible and fullest experience at school to reduce the disadvantage they have already experienced in their lives.

It is for these reasons that Families, Children and Learning takes a robust line to avoid looked after children missing days or weeks of term to go on holiday. There are legitimate reasons why a child may need to be out of school on occasion, these include medical appointments, assessments by different professionals, organised school trips, contact if it is unavoidable, family crises necessitating the foster child travelling away from the foster home with the foster carers, the child being fixed-term or permanently excluded from school, and so on.

Although the days at the end of term may seem less important to parents and carers, they are often a time when children and young people can have a more informal experience of school, which is often very positive. Equally, the beginning of the school year is an important time for children. There are also some key times for children such as years 10 and 11 when they are preparing for public examinations, when attendance at school is highly important.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are very exceptional circumstances. This type of leave would therefore mean that this request would need to be approved by the school's Head Teacher; the Head of Service and Children in Care Lead Gerry Brandon; and the Head of the Virtual School, Mark Storey. Requests must be made by e-mail either to Mark Storey at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or to Gerry Brandon at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , setting out the reasons for the request. Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of Head Teachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday during term time in 'special circumstances' of up to ten school days leaveper year has been removed. The 2013 Regulations make clear that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are 'exceptional circumstances'. It is therefore unlikely that a reason such as the price being cheaper will ever be an acceptable reason, and the circumstances would have to be highly unusual. It is not acceptable for carers to make any arrangements (e.g. book flights) without this agreement having been granted in writing.



Like this site?

Like us on Facebook!



Text Size