Head warns parents over term-time holidays

The head teacher of a Kent primary school has warned that pupils taken on holiday in term time may lose their places.

Before pupils start at Fleetdown Primary in Dartford, which has an outstanding Ofsted rating, their parents have to sign a home-school agreement that includes promising only to take children on holiday during school holidays.

But in a 26 June newsletter, head Angela Konarzewski said: “This year we have an increasing number of families taking children away on holiday during school time.

“This is detrimental to their education: just one week away amounts to 25 hours of schooling missed that can never be repeated. As a result, governors and I have decided that we may offer the places of pupils away on holiday to the next child on the waiting list for their year group.

“With effect from September 2015, if the place is filled by the time they return, then the place at Fleetdown will have to be renegotiated with an interview with a panel of governors and the head teacher. It is possible that your child will lose his/her place.”

She said the “drastic measures” were necessary to halt a decline in attendance at the school, which is oversubscribed, with almost two children applying for every place.

Department for Education rules require parents to receive permission from the head teacher if they want to take their child out of school in term time and it is up to the head to decide how many days your child can be away from school. Parents who take the child on holiday in term time without the school’s permission face a minimum £60 penalty notice, per child, or prosecution, resulting in a fine of up to £2,500 or a prison sentence of up to three months.

At Palmers, we are experienced in working with schools, both as advisors and governors. We can assist heads and governing bodies with matters of drafting and process, in particular in relation to admission disputes, appeals and exclusions. For more information, please contact BJ Chong.