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5.4.3 Consent for Absence from School

AMENDMENT

In December 2015 the following note was added into Section 3, Consent for Absence from School (Exceptional Circumstances):

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that have to be approved by CYPS Service Manager Locality Services, the Virtual School Head and the Head of School. Requests must be made in writing.


Contents

  1. Consent for Absence from School (Therapeutic Interventions / Introduction to Carers)
  2. Consent for Absence from School (Special Events)
  3. Consent for Absence from School (Exceptional Circumstances)


1. Consent for Absence from School (Therapeutic Interventions / Introduction to Carers)

Scope

This procedure applies to Children Looked After who it is deemed may need to be absent from school for regular sessions, over a period of time, for a half-day or longer, in order for therapeutic intervention to take place, or for introductions to new carers/ prospective adopters.

Introduction

It is of the utmost importance that Children Looked After are encouraged and supported to achieve educationally in order to maximise life chances. It is a legal requirement that a child attends school

These considerations should be part of the Care Planning process and should be agreed by all agencies involved with that child, prior to authorisation from the school being sought. It identifies steps, which must be taken by professionals involved with Children Looked After, to ensure appropriate authorisation is given.   

This procedure should not be confused with permission for time off for appointments in school time. Medical and dental appointments should be made outside of school hours where possible. If this is not possible they should be made at a time least detrimental to the education of the Child Looked After.

Procedure

Where a day pupil of compulsory school age is absent at the time of registration, the law requires the school to indicate in the attendance register whether the absence of the child is authorised or unauthorised.

Authorised absence means that the school has either given approval in advance for the pupil to be absent or that an explanation afterwards has been accepted.

By law, only the Head Teacher can authorise absence, not the parent or carer. 

Where it is considered that a Child Looked After may need to be withdrawn from any school session that is one half day or longer, the following procedure should be followed.

The key professionals involved with the child should meet to share information about the proposed time out and consider the following:

  • Why it is needed;
  • Who will undertake the work;
  • Frequency and time scales with end date;
  • Expected outcome;
  • Whether it is part of planned work to enable the care plan to proceed, or whether it is being considered because the care plan is not being progressed;
  • Confirmation that the school are willing to authorise with the classification of "C" (to be obtained by the Virtual School Team Manager);
  • Monitoring, evaluation and review of outcomes.

The meeting should specifically consider the impact on the child's education and how this will be addressed. It is therefore essential that the Virtual School Team Manager attends.

Further to this meeting, a brief report outlining the discussion and recommendations should be forwarded to the Service Manager - Locality Teams, and the Virtual School Head.

The Service Manager will liaise with the Virtual School Head to make a decision.


2. Consent for Absence from School (Special Events)

Scope

This procedure applies to Children Looked After, where a carer requests time out of school for any planned/ special event (e.g. a family wedding).

Introduction

The Council has a clear policy of not wanting Children Looked After to miss any school. This is in line with the national agenda to improve the educational attainment of Children Looked After and a recognition of the importance of education as a passport to better life chances.

Procedure

If foster carers wish to request time out of school, they must request agreement in writing through their Fostering Social Worker/Social Worker who will forward the request to both the Service Manager - Locality Teams and the Virtual School Head for consideration.

The Service Manager - Locality Teams will liaise with the Virtual School Head to make a decision.

Apart from exceptional circumstances, agreement is not likely to be given.


3. Consent for Absence from School (Exceptional Circumstances)

Scope

This procedure must be followed for all children who are Looked After whose carer(s) are requesting to take the child on holiday in term time.

Introduction

Calderdale Council, as a Corporate Parent, is committed to ensuring that all Children Looked After have access to the education to which they are entitled and that they are encouraged and supported to achieve their learning potential. In exercising this role, the Council is committed to do ‘all that a good parent would’ to enhance the life chances of Children Looked After.

The Council has a clear policy of not wanting Children Looked After to miss any school and an expectation that all carers will support this by taking their holidays during school holiday periods and not during school term time.

Procedure

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that have to be approved by CYPS Service Manager Locality Services, the Virtual School Head  and the Head of School. Requests must be made in writing. (Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days leave per year has been removed. The 2013 Regulations make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’).

If foster carers wish for an exception to be made due to “exceptional circumstances” they must request agreement in writing, outlining fully their reasons through their Fostering Social Worker/Social Worker who will forward the request to both the Service Manager - Locality Teams and the Virtual School Head for consideration.

The Service Manager - Locality Teams will liaise with the Virtual School Head to make a decision.

Apart from exceptional circumstances, agreement is not likely to be given.

All carers should be informed that sufficient notice of 12 weeks should be given to allow time for:

Carers should not make financial or other commitments to holidays until they have received agreement from the Service Manager - Locality Teams. Both the carers and the social worker should not approach schools for permission in advance. The Virtual School Head will notify the Headteacher of the school of the decision.

End