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Guidance on authorised term-time pupil absence

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On matters relating to term-time pupil absences, the Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, removed all references to ‘family holidays’ and ‘extended leave’ as well as the ‘notional threshold of 10 school days’. 

The 2013 amendments made it clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevail. 

The regulations also state that head teachers should determine the number of school days a pupil can be away from school if they grant a leave request because of ‘exceptional circumstances’. 

We believe the guidelines in this document are compatible with the amendments and help to clarify the meaning of ‘exceptional circumstances’; they do not change it. Head teachers can authorise a pupil’s absence during term time, but the merits of such a request are now required to be exceptional. 

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