Absence requests for religious observance

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

Updated
on 20 June 2024
See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 8192
Contents
  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 parent(s) belongs.

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

This is explained on page 86 of the DfE's statutory attendance guidance.

For a religious family ceremony

This includes requests to miss school to attend christenings and bar/bat mitzvahs. Approval for these leaves of absence is at your discretion treat them as 'exceptional circumstances'. 

Requests of this kind should be processed in the same way as any ordinary absence request,

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