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Discretionary Leave of Absence

The headteacher will only grant a leave of absence to a pupil during term time if they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'. A leave of absence is granted at the headteacher’s discretion, including the length of time the pupil is authorised to be absent for.


The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request. It should be noted that authroised absences also affect a child’s overall attendance.


Any request should be submitted as soon as it is anticipated and, where possible, at least 4 weeks before the absence, and in accordance with any leave of absence request form, accessible via the school office. The headteacher may require evidence to support any request for leave of absence.


Should your Exceptional Leave request be unauthorised and you still decide to go, you will be invited to meet a Senior Leader, alongside a member of the Attendance Team to discuss this further. We will ask that you bring proof of travel, medical information etc. Unauthorised Exceptional Leave could result in a Fixed Penalty Fine, and your child could lose their school place.


Guidelines for Exceptional Leave

  • The decision to authorise a pupil’s absence is wholly at the head teacher’s discretion based on the pupil’s attendance, attainment and merits of each request.
  • It is acceptable to take a pupil’s record of attendance into account when making absence related decisions.
  • It is important to note that the head teacher can determine the length of the authorised absence as well as as whether a particular absence can be authorised.
  • If an event or leave can be reasonably scheduled outside of term-time then it would be not normal to authorise absence for such an event – holidays are therefore not considered as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
  • Absence to visit seriously-ill relatives or for a bereavement of close family member are usually considered to amount to ‘exceptional circumstances’, but for the funeral service only, not for extended leave.
  • Absences for important religious observances are often taken into account but only for the ceremony and travelling time, again, not for extended leave. This is intended for one-off situation rather than regular or recurring events.

St Barnabas & St Paul’s Church of England Primary School

Oakenhurst Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 1SN

01254 698413