Leave Application Procedures
The NSW Department of Education and Communities has introduced new procedures outlining the responsibilities for student leave and exemptions. These apply to all NSW government schools excluding pre-schools. Significant changes include the removal of exemption for travel and holidays outside of the vacation period: the introduction of a certificate of extended leave for travel outside of vacation periods; removal of the 15 day limit on leave and guidance on what constitutes unsatisfactory attendance.
The complete document can be found at Student Attendance in Government Schools Procedures 2015
An application for leave form can be found at Application For Extended Leave (travel or holiday)
How should schools manage Applications for Extended Leave (travel or holiday)?
14.1. From the beginning of 2015, family holidays and travel are no longer considered under the Exemption from School - Procedures . Travel outside of vacation period is now counted as an absence for statistical purposes.
14.2. A Certificate of Extended Leave – Travel should not be issued where the principal is aware that the student has been the subject of a Child Protection report made to Family and Community Services, or contact with the Child Wellbeing Unit, and for whom unresolved issues concerning a risk of harm remain.
14.3. A principal should not accept a reason for travel during school term if it is not in the best interests of the student. Educational, social and participation reasons, should be specified on the application.
14.4. Travel is considered to be domestic or international travel for the purpose of a family holiday, family business, bereavement or other reasons, which should be specified on the application.
14.5. Principals should consult with parents about the intention of the travel and in the case of family holidays encourage parents to take holidays with their child during school vacation periods.
14.6. Where a principal considers that the travel is appropriate during school term, the principal should issue the parent with an Application for Extended Leave – Travel for completion and inform the parent that if the application is accepted, the absences will be recorded as "L" – Leave.
14.7. Principals should request travel documentation, such as travel itinerary or e-ticket, and ensure this is attached to the application.
14.8. Principals should ensure that parents are assisted with the completion of the application and provide a translation service if required.
14.9. When travels period exceeds one school term access to Distance Education must be considered. Refer to Distance Education: Enrolment Procedures 2014
14.10.Principals may decline to accept a parent's Application for Extended Leave – Travel. In this case the parent must be advised in writing. Refer to example letter – Declining an Application for a Certificate of Extended Leave – Travel.
14.11.If a student or students do not return on the date specified, the principal must ensure the parents are contacted to establish the whereabouts of the student. If contact is not established then the principal should follow processes associated with an Application for Home School Liaison Program support.
14.12.On accepting a parent's Application a Certificate of Extended Leave - Travel must be issued. The original certificate is provided to the parent and a copy of the certificate placed in each student's record.
14.13.An Application for Extended Leave form, Certificate of Extended Leave and example letter for declining an application are available in the appendices of this document. The application and certificate can be downloaded from the links below:
Should approval be given for students to attend lessons outside of school during school hours?
19.1. Involvement in private lessons, such as dance and music classes conducted outside the school during school hours may not be conducive to the effective operation of the school or to the education of the student concerned. Students' involvement in extra-curricular activities will usually be limited to outside school hours.
19.2. Where attendance at a private lesson during school hours is of exceptional importance such as sitting examinations, principals may use their discretion in justifying the absence. This provision must not be used on a regular basis.
19.3. If parents withdraw their children from school for private lessons an unjustified absence should be recorded and procedures followed for addressing attendance concerns.
19.4. See the Exemption from School – Procedures for requirements when considering an application for a certificate of exemption for participation in the entertainment industry, elite sports or elite arts.
Note: Higher School Certificate courses conducted outside school, participation in work placement or TAFE based courses are not considered to be private lessons.