We need to do a v.long journey for a family event so are thinking of asking if DS can leave at lunchtime on a Friday. But what's the deal here? School are rightly very into attendance, but as he will be attending that day, can I casually ask his teacher if it's okay (he's only in Yr 1), or do I have to do the whole letter to Head thing? I don't want to make a big deal out of it unless I have to!
You really ought to put it in writing - if nothing else, then to prevent putting DS's teacher in an awkward position. It's not really her decision, TBH. I find it highly improbable that anyone will say no, but best to do it through the proper channels.
In the past we have normally gone on holiday the Friday before October half-term. I recall that when DS had the whole day off I had to fill in a holiday form via the school office, but when I took him out at lunchtime I just did a note to his class teacher saying I would be collecting him at 12.00.
However, practices are probably different in different schools.
I think you have to ask for permission to leave by signing a form that states the reason for absence and the length of it. The only times we have not been asked to fill a "absence request form" were when we take the DCs during lunch time break (dentist appointment) and they are back in school for the afternoon session.
At the end of the year, on the school report, if you have been absent 1 day it will be written : missed 2 session(morning + afternoon).
Agree Yr1 at this time of the school year shouldn't be an issue, however some heads can be a bit arsey, even if the teachers are ok. If its just half a day I would write a note for teacher requesting that you need to collect DC at lunchtime from the office and ask if you need to complete a holiday request form for this.