Exceptional Leave

Requests for Exceptional Leave

There is NO automatic entitlement in law for time off in school time to go on holiday.  We do not usually authorise holiday or leave during term time.

Hillingdon schools are encouraged to adopt a policy of not authorising Exceptional Leave.

Statutory regulations demand that parents make exceptional requests in writing to the Head Teacher. This letter must contain the reason for the request and the dates, including the return date. Each request will be considered individually and various factors will be taken into account, such as:

  • The child’s attendance history
  • Efforts made to minimise the number of school days taken
  • Efforts made to link this to a school holiday
  • You have avoided important school events such as examinations

 Please note that exceptional leave will NOT be granted:

  • For holidays during term
  • Those with poor attendance, less than 95%
  • Patterns of absence become identified
  • School is aware of truancy
  • During school examination and assessment periods.

Always plan well ahead wherever possible, refer to the school calendar and write to the Head Teacher well in advance of the planned dates. Flight booking details may be requested as confirmation of travel.

If children do not return by the agreed date, (contained in the letter of request and the Head Teacher’s authorisation) then following a further 10 day period the child can be removed from the school role.

If there are extenuating circumstances which prevent return on the planned date it is essential that parents make every effort to contact the school and explain the reason for the continued absence.

If your child does not return to school within 20days following a school holiday your child is at risk of losing their place at Meadow High School.

The Participation Team can issue Penalty Notices for any unauthorised absence. Penalty Notices can be issued to each parent/carer concerned for each child’s absences. currently £60, per parent per child, rising to £120 if unpaid after 21 days. If unpaid after 28 days a summons to Court will be issued for each unpaid Penalty Notice, or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. The legislation is the Education Act 1996 sec. 444(1) and 444(1A). If unauthorised leave is repeated the Participation Officer may summons each parent to court without a Penalty Notice being issued.


Please find below guidance from London Borough of Hillingdon on Exceptional Leave.