As you will be aware, the Government has now introduced some significant changes to attendance regulations for pupils at school as from September 2013. The most important of these is in relation to term-time family holidays. Below is a quotation directly from the Department for Education Circular:
‘Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that Head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.’
St James’ draws your attention particularly to the second sentence of this paragraph. Clearly there are many situations which may constitute exceptional circumstances, but as a general rule, I interpret ‘exceptional’ in this context as being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child, which outweighs the loss of teaching time.