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Rules on taking holiday during term time - 4 year old in reception

(13 Posts)
MoonHare Wed 24-Apr-13 12:20:47

Can anyone help me clarify what the rules are around school attendance for under 5s?

I did some research and thought I'd found information to indicate that since parents are not legally obliged to ensure their child is receiving an education until the age of 5 that it would not count as an unauthorised absence if a 4 year old was taken out of school for a family holiday.

With this in mind I've booked a weeks holiday in June, including DD who is 4.

Put in my absence request to school yesterday and thought I'd double check the rules. The DFE website suggests I might have got it wrong. It says there's no obligation to have children in school before 5 years but then goes on to say that if a child is registered at a school then parents have a duty to ensure attendance. So does that include 4 year olds who are registered???

Eeek! Am now worried about incurring a fine!

AuntieStella Wed 24-Apr-13 12:23:55

You don't have to enroll your DC in school until term after 5th birthday. But if you choose to enroll them they should attend.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 12:28:36

Pretty much as AuntieStella says

However fines aren't automatic for unauthorised attendance so hopefully you won't have to worry. And the school may authorise it anyway. Our area has a blanket policy of never authorising term time holidays but other parts of the country and other schools seem much less strict

expansivegirth Wed 24-Apr-13 12:43:05

I don't think the authorities are allowed to fine parents of children under five. I believe that the attendance for children under five are not even reported to the local authority - as they do not count towards attendance for Ofsted figures - or so I was told in 2011. Perhaps things have changed. Anyone on here fined for taking out a four year old?

You could go on the website of your local authority and they will tell you the policy for your borough. In some fines come into effect faster than others. In our borough there are quite a few days, and consequetive days indicating a pattern of repeated absence, before fines kick in.

Jenny70 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:01:24

If you choose not to apply for a place until after your child turns 5, that is your choice, but the classes will be full of their peers that did apply - so keep that in mind.

If you do put your 4 year old into reception, they are obliged to attend. They are taking the spot of someone else who is willing to attend (in our over subscribed school)... It is disruptive to the class to have children in and out, missing a weeks worth of lessons, when they are building a phonics base, or a topic over the term.

It's not the biggest deal to have a week off, but don't expect any smile and wink from the teacher - the school will be cross about it, but won't fine you unless you do it often.

freetrait Wed 24-Apr-13 14:16:44

Lots of parents took YR kids out of school for holiday. I don't think many asked permission!

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 14:36:56

That may be true freetrait but it doesn't mean the holidays were authorised or the school allowed it. It just means a lot of people did it regardless.

freetrait Wed 24-Apr-13 20:02:17

Indeed. But they can't penalise you if your child is under 5 and not legally obliged to be there. And you may learn a lot from a week out of school at that age wink. I haven't done it and won't do it as both my children are Autumn birthdays, and I certainly wouldn't do it further up the school, although plenty do....

kilmuir Wed 24-Apr-13 20:24:56

Do it. your child is 4!

verap Thu 05-Dec-13 20:02:54

My DD is 4 (in Reception class since September). We are going on holiday so she will be absent from school the last week in December. Received a letter from school today saying that are unable to authorize it.
We are going anyway but hoping we wont be fined.

Saracen Thu 05-Dec-13 23:33:32

Hi verap! You cannot be fined for the nonattendance of a child who is below compulsory school age. In England and Wales, compulsory school age starts in the term after the child's fifth birthday, so your child is still below compulsory school age.

From DfE's statutory guidance "Parental responsibility
measures for school attendance and behaviour" issued November 2013:

"Parenting contracts, orders and penalty notices for irregular attendance apply only to pupils of compulsory school age who are registered at a school."

You can download the document here:

Enjoy your holiday!

verap Fri 06-Dec-13 10:05:49

Saracen - thanks for your answer, I shall keep you posted about the outcome of this :-)

verap Thu 23-Jan-14 15:35:07

Just to say thank you, all went well, no charges, no letters from school, etc.

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