Published on 12, July, 2020
This is my first post please be kind my punctuation and spelling is not great
My husband and I have just received penalty notices for my 12 year old ASD son as we took him on holiday during term time my son can not deal with crowded places and lots of over excited children we obviously want our son to experience every opportunity we can give him but find if we take him away during school holidays it is too stressful and overwhelming for him so we have no choice but to take him during school term time when it is quieter and he can enjoy his break away. My son is in mainstream school and the school are well aware of why we take him away during term time. Has anyone else had this issue and is there anything we can do about the penalty notice as it states we have no statutory right to appeal but feel there is exceptional circumstances for the leave
You say the school knows of why you take your son away during term time, but did you specifically inform the school beforehand that you would be taking your son away for those particular dates? Did you request reasonable adjustments regarding the absence policy? If you took your son away without informing the school beforehand, that's one thing, but if the school knew your circumstances and still gave you a notice, that's pretty strange.
We informed the school and requested the leave back in September last year for March this year they are well aware of his needs and we stated on the holiday form why we were taking him during school term is it the school who issue the notices I was under the impression it was the local authority x
I work in a school. The local authority makes the rules on absence. The school follows the rules and issues the penalty notice. Exceptional circumstances tend to be funerals etc... If you pm me, i'll send you a copy of our attendance policy.
I understand most schools have different policies they decide what they will authorise or not it’s at the head teachers discretion if he wanted to authorise it on these grounds it is my understanding that due to my sons extra needs he could have x
I have just seen that the original post post was four years ago when HMG was still getting up tight about term-time holidays ... hopefully this was resolved. However.post-Covid some schools will be looking at getting their attendance statistics back on track, and FPNs may rear their ugly head again. Although I am a former EWO, this reply is for information only - if it happens to you, please, seek qualified legal advice!
With respect to Trishy, the LA does not make the rules - the >Statutory guidance< is contained in " School Attendance : Guidance for maintained schools, academies, schools and local authorities " (which in turn lists the legislation) - This current to the end of the 2022 school year.
The Head Teacher alone may authorise absence (although in practice this may be delegated to other staff, the Head is still responsible. [Education (Pupil Registration)(England) Regs 2006 Reg 7(1) and 7(3)(B) apply.]
The penalty notice is in respect of an "unautorised absence" contrary to s.444(1) Education Act 1996. by paying the FPN you are admitting that you have broken the law. However ... If your child has ASD and needs to take a break as a "reasonable accomodation then the Head should authorise it. I am not a lawyer, but as the Head Teacher has personal responsibility for authorising absence, presumably they are personally liable if they exercise their discretion without considering the Public Sector Equality Duty. That might focus their attention! You may find the HT will choose to authorise the absence ...
The FPN will have been issued either by the governing body or the LEA depending on local arrangements. Contact either the Courts Officer at the Education Welfare Service, or the Head Teacher, or both, and ask for the notice to be withdrawn. For a prosection under s.444(1) will involve the authority in a lot of time and expense, and they may back down. If they refuse, seek expert advice immediately.