Department for Education for more information

Hampshire County Council advice and guidance for parents/carers

 Family holidays/school holidays

Children have 13 weeks annual holiday from school and school holiday dates are published well in advance online. As such, all parents/carers are expected wherever possible to plan and take their family holidays at this time so as not to disrupt their children’s education. Education law states that parents do not have a right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. Only in exceptional circumstances may a headteacher grant permission for leave; and it is the headteachers decision on whether the absence is exceptional and how many days to approve.  Holidays taken during term times can adversely affect the progress of children and will not be authorised.

Updated June 2017

Further to previous communications, the Supreme Court has now delivered its judgement in relation to the Isle of Wight Council’s appeal which sought clarification on what is meant by “fails to attend regularly” in the context of a prosecution for unauthorised non-attendance at school.

The Supreme Court said that “regular” means “in accordance with the rules published by the school” and rejected the view that regular meant “sufficiently frequently”. Full details of this judgement can be found on the Supreme Court website:

This clarifies the position regarding term time absence and it is clear that schools can determine whether an absence is authorised or not. In coming to their decision schools need to abide by Hampshire County Council’s Code of Conduct when issuing Penalty Notices. All schools, maintained and academies, should be implementing the Code of Conduct and warning parents of the likelihood of legal action if absence is not authorised. A copy of the Code of Conduct for legal intervention is available on the right hand side of this page together with a leaflet which explains how Penalty Notices are issued.

Parents/carers who take their child out of school without the absence being agreed and authorised by written permission from the school can be issued with a penalty fine.

School Attendance Guide

Leave of absence request form

Leave of absence request form – (editable word document)