We have recently been seeing an increasing number of requests for extended absences, particularly to attend funerals and to visit sick relatives. Whilst we naturally appreciate the motives behind these, we have to remind our community that:
- We cannot authorize any absence of more than 10 days for any circumstance. This is the law.
- We cannot authorise holidays of any kind. However, under the current circumstances, we will authorize a holiday that was originally booked and paid for the school holidays, was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions and which the holiday company now can only offer during term time. We would expect to see proof of the original date and correspondence from the holiday company to support this.
- With regard to funerals, Department of Education Guidance is that absence should be authorised for the day of the funeral only. At Parkdale, after consultation with families back in 2014, we agreed that we would be more flexible and authorise a day’s travel either side, so a maximum of three days. This also applies to funerals outside of the UK.
- The same applies for a visit to a critically ill immediate family member.
- We are guided not to authorize for weddings, abroad or in the UK, but we agreed to authorise the day and a day’s travel either side.
Any request on the above categories should relate to immediate family, defined by the DfE as: a group of relations, used in rules or laws to determine which members of a person’s family are affected by those rules. It normally includes a person’s parents, spouses, siblings and children. It can contain others connected by birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership, or cohabitation, such as grandparents, grandchildren, siblings-in-law, half-siblings, adopted children and step-parents/step-children, and cohabiting partners
We appreciate that many in our community have family in distant parts of the world. We have consulted with other schools with similar demographics, including two Islamic schools and all operate to the same DfE guidance, mostly without the slightly ‘softer’ approach we agreed to in consultation.
Going forward, we would politely request that families consider the above when submitted requests for leave of absence for their children.
Thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding.