Term Time Absence

Term Time Absence

Deployment commitments have always meant difficulty for Royal Naval and Royal Marines families trying to tie in leave dates with school holidays.


Since September 2013, by law, head teachers are only able to grant requests for leave during term time in “exceptional circumstances”.


In July 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released additional advice for head teachers regarding school term time absence for the children of Armed Forces personnel, stating:

  • The educational needs of Service children affected will always be a critical factor when determining whether term-time absence should be granted.
  • As well as operational tours overseas or afloat, there are many situations where the unusual and often unpredictable demands of life in the Armed Forces may prevent Service families taking holidays together outside term time, which should be considered.
  • However as with all children, the decision on whether to authorise term-time holidays for the children of Service personnel sits solely with the Head Teacher of their school.
  • Separate advice should be provided to Service families explaining how they should present evidence when requesting absence during term-time, and reminding them firmly that the educational needs of their child(ren) will remain of great importance.
  • To assist Head Teachers in making their decisions on absence applications, Unit Commanding Officers and their Welfare Staff will be able to provide advice, verification and endorsement as required.
  • If Head Teachers are unsure how to make contact with the relevant Armed Forces unit they should contact the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People at


To read the MOD’s ‘School Term Time Absence for Children of Service Personnel Guidance’ in full, click here.


Find out more about this in our Homeport Magazine (Autumn 18 edition, p. 44-45) here.


Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 10th February, 2020