Informing Your Child's School About an Absence by Letter
If you are a parent or guardian you will be required to write a letter to the school whenever your child is unable to attend class due to sickness or injury. Usually, this letter won’t be posted but your child will hand it over to their form teacher when they are fit enough to return to school. This ensures that your child has been absent from school for legitimate reasons and not due to truancy.
Likewise, if you wish to take your child out of school during term-time to go on holiday, you need to write a letter ahead of the planned holiday to let the school know that you request that your child is granted permission to be absent during specified dates. Over recent years, schools have tightened up restrictions on taking children on holiday during term-time. This is because vital time in the classroom is lost and some children have encountered problems in catching up with work upon their return from holiday. However, they will treat each individual request on its own merits.
Quite often, children may be asked to take some classroom work on holiday with them to do as homework. However, if your child has important examinations coming up, such as GCSEs, you may be refused permission to take them out of school during the requested period or the school may strongly urge you to reconsider as it could ultimately affect your child’s grades if exams are looming on the horizon.
Reasons for a Childs Absence from SchoolThere are several reasons why parents sometimes look to take their children on holiday during term-time but usually it will be because of financial reasons. For example, travel companies are only too aware of the dates when schools take official holidays. As a result, they often hike up their prices as they know that demand for bookings will be far greater during these periods. Consequently, parents on low incomes may not be able to afford the higher costs associated with booking holidays at this time and need to try to go on holiday during periods when it’s less expensive.
Another common reason why parents want to take their children away on holiday during term-time is because of their own holiday entitlements if they are employed. It may be that they only have X number of days left of their holiday entitlement and need to take these by a certain date or risk losing them and/or it may be that their work colleagues have already booked to go on holiday themselves during the school holidays and that the company has reached its full allocation of the number of staff that can be absent during the school holidays and require a certain number of staff on site for them to still run the business efficiently.
How to Write the Letter to SchoolIn both cases of a child’s absence from school, be it a request for holiday absence or as a result of sickness, the letter from the parent or guardian should state the name of the child involved, the start and end date of the child’s absence (or proposed start and end date, in the case of a holiday), the reason for the absence and should always include a signature. If you want to take your child out of school for a holiday, it is better to request their absence as opposed to telling the school you will be taking the child out of school as there is not always a guarantee that the school will agree to them being absent for this purpose.
These instances are probably one of the exceptions to the rule where typing letters is concerned and schools would probably argue that a handwritten letter is far more acceptable than a typed one as it reduces the possibility of a child forging a letter that’s supposedly been written by their parent. Nevertheless, to safeguard against that, it can be useful for a parent to also include a contact number and to ask the child’s form teacher to call them within, say, 48 hours to confirm that they have received the letter, in case the child has failed or forgotten to hand it over.
Here is a Typical Letter to a Form Teacher to Explain a Child’s Absence From School Due to Illness.
My daughter Diane Holbrook was absent from school between Tuesday November 14 and Friday November 17 following her visit to the dentist on the Tuesday morning.
She suffered a painful reaction to the tooth extraction she had that morning and was in too much pain to attend school for the remainder of the week and was confined to bed with pain killing medication for most of it. Thankfully, she has now fully recovered.
Can you please confirm that you have received this letter by calling me on my mobile number, 07564 677544, within 48 hours of Diane handing this letter to you.
Thank you in anticipation of your help.