From 1 September 2013 changes to statutory legislation regarding pupil absence came in to force. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 state that Headteachers may NOT grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are "exceptional" circumstances. This also applies to family holidays.
We have a duty to alert our Local Authority Children's Services' Access and Inclusion Officer when parents remove their children from school without the consent of the Headteacher. Parents can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 per parent per child. If this is not paid within 21 days, the amount doubles to £120. If this is not paid within 28 days, parents are at risk of prosecution and can receive a criminal record and a substantial fine.
Even if a parent rings to let us know their child is ill and will be absent, it is at the discretion of the Headteacher to authorise the absence.