The Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School

Leave of Absence

By Downloading the Leave of Absence Form you agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions laid out in the letter below.

You can download the Leave of Absence Form: HERE (PDF)

You can view the West Sussex County Council Penalty Notice Leaflet HERE (PDF)

October 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing to you regarding attendance, particularly relating to requests for holidays in term time.  Our analysis of last summer’s results has again reminded us of the clear link between good attendance and strong outcomes. I cannot state strongly enough that one of the best ways you can support your child in achieving their full potential is by ensuring their attendance is the very best it can be.  

This letter asks you to think carefully before making any request to take your child/children out of school during term time. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind parents that this school’s stance on taking children out of school during term time remains firm and in line with the Crawley School’s Attendance Policy. This states that requests for absence in term time will not be authorised. However, 1 day will normally be allowed for religious observance. e.g. Eid, Diwali, etc.

As I am sure many of you will be aware, there has been considerable media coverage regarding a case within the legal system wherein a parent challenged the term ‘regular’ asserting that taking a child out of school for the purposes of a family holiday, if this was the only occasion of absence, was not tantamount to irregular attendance.  This case resulted in a hearing at the Supreme Court and on the 6th April 2017 the father was found guilty of failing to secure her regular attendance.  The Supreme Court Judgement further clarified that there is no automatic right to absence from school, for the purposes of a holiday during term time and it remains the decision of the Headteacher as to whether absence is authorised or not.   

We will continue to reward not just good individual and class attendance in school, but also much improved attendance from students. We know that we all need to work together to improve attendance and achievement of all our children and I thank you in advance for your co-operation.

Mrs K Bramley

Deputy Headteacher

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It is extremely important that you notify the school of any pre-arranged absence, be it for a full day or part of a day, so I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of our procedures should your child need to be absent from school.

If your child is absent you MUST:

  • Telephone the school, preferably before 8.30am, on the designated Absence Line:

       01293 652971, to advise us of your son/daughter’s absence

Please remember to include your child’s name, tutor group, reason and likely duration of absence.

First Day Calling and second attempt to contact

  • If your child is absent and we have not received any notification of this, you will be contacted by a member of the schools Attendance Team to ascertain the reason for your child’s absence. First, we will attempt to contact you on the number given. If there is no answer we will leave a message (where possible). If we have not been able to speak to you we will also aim to make a final enquiry by text.

If we do not receive an explanation from you following first contact we will try once more in the next few days. If, after a second attempt to contact you, we do not hear from you within            24 hours, the absence will be marked as unauthorised.

Returning to school after an absence

  • When your child returns to school after an absence, you must send in a signed note giving the reasons. This must be done for all absences, even though you will have previously contacted the school office via one of the methods above.
  • If your child is ill for a period of 5 days, we would normally expect them to have seen a doctor. For illnesses of this length we will ask to see supporting medical documentation, which can be in the form of a certificate, a photocopy of any prescription, a note from your GP, a signed appointment card or a screen shot of your call to the surgery confirming that your child has been to see them, together with the reason and length of absence.

Medical appointments

  • If your child has a medical appointment of any kind (i.e. doctor, dentist, hospital, or optician) please bring in the appointment card or letter to confirm this, preferably in advance, or telephone the designated Absence Line.
  • For morning or afternoon appointments we would normally expect the child to be in school for the other half of the day.
  • If you need to take your child out of school to accompany you to an appointment, this will be an unauthorised absence.

Late Marks

  • Registration takes place at 8.45am and if a child arrives after this time they will be marked as late. If your child misses either a morning or an afternoon registration they should visit the Attendance Office (G113) and then sign in using the inVentry screen. If punctuality does not improve this may result in further sanctions. Where a medical appointment is the cause of lateness, evidence of this must be seen and sanctions will not be applied.

Request for Absence in Term time and Unexplained Absence from School

There are only 190 contact days in the school year, which means that there are 175 non-school days left for holidays, treats and shopping. This letter provides you with the information required to make an informed decision and to ensure that you are aware of the legal position should you take your child/children out of school during term time. 

  • Application MUST BE SOUGHT IN ADVANCE and a minimum of 10 school days’ notice is required
  • A separate form must be completed for each child and must be completed by the parent with whom the child normally lives
  • Schools may only authorise an absence if they receive notification in advance and the reason for the absence is considered by the school to be "exceptional" - that is "rare, unavoidable and short". By "unavoidable" we mean that the event could not reasonably be scheduled at any other time.
  • There is no requirement for the school to consider information after the event, and/or to amend decisions when this is offered. Decisions on whether absence is authorised or not are usually made at the time of the request, as the parent has a responsibility to give full information on the reasons for the request.  

May I also take this opportunity to remind you that, in line with the Crawley School’s Attendance Policy, requests for absence in term time will not be authorised. I would like to draw your attention to the school’s Attendance Policy, which refers to the potential use of Fixed Penalty Notices for the following:

 A referral for a Fixed penalty Notice (FPN) may be made to the Local Authority for the following reasons: -

  • When a student has a minimum of 10 school sessions recorded as unauthorised. (A School day is two sessions AM and PM.)
  • Should you remove your child/children from school during term time without approval and 10 or more unauthorised absences (5 or more days) are accrued, each parent could be referred to the Local Authority for consideration of legal intervention, which could lead to the use of a Fixed Penalty Notice for each child and/or court action for each child upon their return to school (Years 7 to 11)             
  • Any absence marked in the register as unauthorised, i.e. if you fail to provide evidence of an absence or your child has truanted, will be recorded as unauthorised absence (Code 0)
  • If your child is ill for a period of 5 days or more, we would expect them to have seen a doctor. For illnesses of this duration we will ask to see supporting medical documentation, which can be in the form of a medical certificate/note from your GP, a photocopy/scan of any prescription, a signed appointment card or a screen shot of your call to the surgery
  • Persistent late arrival at school after the register has been taken is recorded as an unauthorised absence (Code U). When a student has a minimum of 10 school sessions recorded as unauthorised under Code U or another unauthorised Code an FPN will be considered. (A school day is two sessions - AM & PM - in any rolling school year)
  • A holiday or period of absence in term time of 5 or more days, which has not been authorised by the Head Teacher (Code G). The Government has directed that Head Teachers may now only grant leave for a holiday in exceptional circumstances
  • If you notify the school that your child is ill prior to or after a period of either authorised or unauthorised absence, you will need to provide medical documentation or the absence will be unauthorised and if the total number of days is 5 or more than a referral may be made for a Fixed Penalty Notice
  • If you withdraw your child/children from school during term time, without authorisation being requested in advance, in line with the school’s policy
  • If the school refers a case for an unauthorised absence that is longer than 15 consecutive school days, the Local Authority may consider that a Fixed Penalty Notice is not appropriate and the matter may be brought directly before the courts for prosecution 
  • Exclusion FPNs can also be used during the first 5 days of exclusion. Parents are made aware of the consequences by letter when a child is excluded from school

Fixed Penalty Notices (Please see WSCC Penalty Notice leaflet) - Applies to Years 7 to 11 only

A Fixed Penalty Notice, if paid within 21 days, is £60 per parent per child. After which it goes up to £120 per parent per child, to be paid within 7 days. Should the Fixed Penalty Notices remain unpaid at the end of this period of time, the County Council is required to commence prosecution in the Magistrates Court for the original offence of failing to ensure regular and punctual school attendance of your child/children. This is a criminal offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 and carries a maximum fine of £1,000 per parent per child and/or a parenting order or Community Service order.

Should you wish to discuss any points mentioned in this letter, please contact attendance@holytrinitycrawley.org.uk (01293 652971) and we will direct your query to the correct member of staff.