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Wednesday 16 March 2011

Drive to cut term-time holidays


Cheshire East Council is urging parents not to take their children on holiday during school term-time.

As part of a wider drive to cut term-time absences, Cheshire East Council’s Education Welfare Service has produced a guide which highlights the importance of keeping children in school throughout the year.

The guide explains the legal obligation parents and carers have to ensure their children regularly attend school, how parents should apply to take their children out of class for a holiday and the penalties that may be imposed for ‘unauthorised’ absences during term-time.      

Research shows that children taken out of school may struggle to catch up on work they have missed. It may affect their test results and the progress they make at school.

Regular attendance at school is also a legal requirement. The Education Act 1996 makes it a criminal offence for a parent to fail to secure their child’s regular attendance at school.

Unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ for the absence, most requests will be classed as ‘unauthorised’.

Parents or carers who want permission to take their child out of school for a holiday must put the request in writing to the school, no later than three weeks prior to the planned trip. If there are any special circumstances for the trip, these must be explained in full.

The guide is available at

Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cabinet member with responsibility for children and family services, said: “There are only 190 statutory school days in one year, leaving 175 days available to use for family holidays.

“Although we understand that the costs of holidays tend to go up during school holidays, we want the children of Cheshire East to get the most out of their education. With research showing that absences can have an impact on educational achievement, we hope parents will support us in this endeavour.”

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