Absence requests for religious observance

Make sure you know how to handle requests for absence from both pupils and staff due to religious events. Also, find links to calendars of celebrations so you can keep on top of dates when you might see absence requests.

Last reviewed on 4 May 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 8192
  1. Pupil absence requests
  2. Staff absence requests
  3. Calendars of religious observances

Pupil absence requests

For religious observance

You must treat the absence as authorised.

However, the day being taken as absence must be exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil's parents belong.

If you have doubts, seek advice from the parents' religious body about whether this is the case.

This is explained on page 59 of the DfE's attendance guidance.

For a religious family ceremony

Approval for these absences is at your discretion. This includes requests to miss school to attend christenings and bar/bat mitzvahs. 

Requests of this kind should be processed in the same way as any ordinary absence request, and should not be recorded as absence for religious observance.

This was explained to us by the DfE.

Recording the absence

R For authorised absence due to religious observance C For authorised absences for other religious events, such as a family ceremony O If you're not satisfied that the

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