10th May 2023
Attendance Update from Bradford Council
We have been asked by Bradford Council to share with you an update around attendance procedures in relation to unauthorised leave of absences.
Specifically, this is situations where families take two or more periods of unauthorised leave in a 12-month period or when a period of four or more weeks of leave is taken.
In these instances, Bradford Council will utilise the option to start legal proceedings via the magistrates’ court instead of issuing a penalty notice. This means that parents may be liable to receive a significantly higher fine (up to £2,500 per child, per parent) if found guilty, as well as receive a criminal record, which may be reportable to employers (for example, via a DBS Check). In rare circumstances, magistrates can consider a custodial sentence for up to 3 months. This change has come into force from 1 April 2023.
I wish to make it very clear that this is a decision that has been made by Bradford Council as a response to the very high rates of unauthorised absences across the city with almost 150,000 school days being lost to unauthorised absence in 2021-2022.
At Hazelbeck, requests for leave during term time are assessed on a case-by-case basis and we will always consider any mitigating circumstances and take personal circumstances into account. However, continued absence from school will have a detrimental impact on a young person’s education and presents a safeguarding risk.
In addition, under the ‘Child Missing Education’ Guidance, it is expected that we will inform the local authority of any pupil who has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 days or more.
It is important that you are aware of these pieces of guidance, so that you can take this information into consideration when deciding whether or not to take a period of un-authorised leave during term time.