The Department of Education, through OFSTED and the local authority, monitors schools, their children, and their attendance.
The focus for attendance has shifted, the spotlight is now on children who are classed as persistently absent.
From 1 September 2015, the Government is reducing the threshold from 15% to 10%. This will now class a student with attendance below 90% as a persistent absentee, compared with the previous figure of 85%, regardless of whether the school has authorised or unauthorised the absence. This equates to 38 sessions or 19 days of absence across the year.
Schools are no longer judged solely on their overall attendance figures but also on the number of students who fall into the persistent absence category. I understand that this is a very cold and uncompromising change because, through no fault of their own, children can become ill. I am afraid that it appears that the Government and their teams of statisticians do not consider these issues when they change their policies!
I would also like to remind you that the law does not give any entitlement to parents to remove their child from school during term-time for the purpose of a holiday. I can only grant leave of absence where an application has been made in advance and if there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.