Holidays in term time

What you need to know

You can only take your child out of school during term time if:

  • you apply to the head teacher in advance; and
  • there are exceptional circumstances.

It is up to the headteacher and the school to decide what these exceptional circumstances are. Schools will not authorise a holiday just before or during an examination.

Helping your child

To help your child do well in school, you should:

  • only go on long visits during school holidays;
  • if you have to go during term time, don't go for more than two weeks;
  • plan the absence carefully with your child's school; and
  • always give a return date.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is my child entitled to two weeks away from school for family holidays?

A. No. It is not parents` right to take their children out of school for a holiday.

By law, the power for leave to be granted for an annual holiday is discretionary.

Q. Do I need to apply in advance for my child's leave to be granted for an annual holiday?

A. Yes. Two weeks leave for a family holiday should not be regarded as an acceptable norm. Parents or guardians must contact the headteacher in writing at least two weeks before any planned holidays or trip. They must state the reasons for taking time off during the term.

Q. Where can I get further advice on this matter?

A. Contact your child's school first or get advice from the Education Attendance Service.

This page was last modified on: 22 Oct 2023