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Term time leave or holidays

Children of compulsory school age who are registered at a school must, by law, attend that school regularly.

  • Regular attendance is the best way of ensuring that a child makes the most of the educational opportunities available to him or her.
  • When a child is absent from school, he or she misses not only the teaching provided but is also less prepared for the lessons after his or her return.
  • There are only 190 statutory school days in one year and 175 days (weekends and school holidays) available to use for holidays or leave. Therefore, every school day counts!

Details of Cambridgeshire schools' term and holiday dates are available on the school term dates page.

Key information

Prior to June 2013, the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 allowed for headteachers to grant leave of absence for term-time leave or family holiday in 'special circumstances' and for extended leave in exceptional circumstances.

Amendments to these regulations remove references to family holidays and extended leave. The amendments state that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.

Your rights and responsibilities

  • If your child is registered at a school you must ensure that they attend regularly.
  • The regulations make it clear that parents do not have any right or entitlement to take a child out of school for the purposes of a term time holiday.
  • If parents take their child on holiday or leave in term time, this will be counted as an unauthorised absence. This is the same as truancy and you may be at risk of a penalty notice fine being issued or prosecution in the Magistrates court.

What you can do

  • Ask to see your child's school's attendance policy. The school may have a copy available to download on their website.
  • Speak to the school if you feel you need to take your child out of school in exceptional circumstances.

Further Information

Find out more about non-attendance, the law and fines issued in Cambridgeshire
Department for Education guidance on school attendance and absence