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Guidelines for leave of absence from statutory education in primary schools

On 26.2.2014, the Committee for Childhood and Culture adopted the following guidelines for leave of absence from statutory education in primary schools in Ås. 

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Guidelines for leave of absence from statutory education in primary schools
Applies from 01.08.2014

These guidelines are based on Section 2-1 of the Norwegian Education Act – Primary school rights and obligations, first, second and fifth paragraph and Section 2-11 of the Norwegian Education Act – Leave of absence from statutory education.

 

1. Target group and content
These guidelines for the processing of applications for leave of absence from education applies to all pupils in primary schools in the Municipality of Ås.

These guidelines cannot be used in the event of absence for health-related reasons.


2. Provision on leave
The provision on leave contained in Section 2-11 of the Norwegian Education Act is divided into two paragraphs. The first paragraph concerns leave to which the pupil is not entitled. The second paragraph concerns leave to which the pupil is entitled to on the basis of an application.

2.1 Leave to which the pupil is not entitled
For pupils to whom the second paragraph of Section 2-11 of the Norwegian Education Act does not apply, only the first paragraph applies which states that:

(…)“When it is justifiable, the municipality may on the basis of an application grant a pupil leave for up to two weeks.”(…)

The school must make a two-fold assessment. The school must first decide whether it is justifiable to grant the pupil leave of absence. If the school decides that it is not justifiable to grant leave of absence, the application must be refused. The considerations that must be prioritised in the assessment are described in point 5.

If the school decides that it is justifiable to grant leave of absence, the school must then assess whether it is possible for the pupil to be granted leave of absence. If the school decides that it cannot grant leave of absence, the application must be refused. Guidelines for this are contained in point 6.


2.2 Leave to which the pupil is entitled
Members of religious communities outside the Church of Norway are entitled to apply for leave of absence on religious holidays observed by their community. This is regulated in Section 2-11, second paragraph:

(…)“Pupils who are members of a religious community outside the Church of Norway are entitled on the basis of an application to be absent from school on those dates on which their community observes religious holidays. It is a condition for such right that the parents ensure tuition during the leave of absence so that the pupil is able to follow his/her classes when the leave of absence ends.”(…)

In deciding whether the conditions for the required tuition have been met, emphasis must be placed on the planned classes that the pupil will miss at school and how this will be compensated on the part of the parents. If the parents state that no tuition will be provided during the leave of absence or the principal considers the planned tuition to be inadequate for the pupil to be able to follow his/her classes after the leave of absence ends, the application for leave of absence may be rejected as the condition of the leave of absence has not been met.
 

3. Duration of the leave of absence
The provision on a maximum period of leave of two consecutive weeks (10 school days) contained in the Norwegian Education Act is absolute.

4. Decision
The decision on leave of absence from statutory education is a decision made on an individual basis which has been delegated to the school principal.

5. Assessment of justifiability
Approval of an application is conditional on the principal finding it justifiable that the pupil should be absent from school for a short time period (see point 3).

Relevant considerations include:

The school’s/pupil’s educational programme during the leave of absence
No requirement exists for the tuition provided during the leave of absence to be equivalent to that provided by the school during the same period, but it should have such a content that the pupil will be able to follow his/her classes when the leave of absence ends. The school will not give the pupil homework to complete during the leave of absence. The pupil is not entitled to be provided with the classes that the pupil misses during the leave of absence pursuant to Section 2-11 at a later date.

 Length of leave of absence
As a general rule, leave of absence should not be granted for more than five consecutive school days. If good reasons exist for granting a longer leave of absence, the leave of absence cannot under any circumstances constitute more than two consecutive weeks (cf. Section 2-11, first paragraph, of the Norwegian Education Act).

Pupil leave history
Previously granted leaves of absence in the same school year may make another leave of absence unjustifiable and may result in a rejection of an application.
 

6. Guidelines for the assessment of applications for leave of absence
These guidelines specify when the school should not grant leave of absence and when the school should grant leave of absence on condition that this is justifiable.

  1. Primary schools in Ås cannot grant leave of absence in periods in which preparation for and completion of the following take place:
  • state assessment tests
  • national tests
  • all-day tests, oral and written
  • examinations, oral and written (i.e. in year 10 no leave of absence can be granted from 15 April until the end of the school year).
  1. Leave of absence should not normally be granted in the first week of the school year. This applies to all years.
  2. Leave of absence should not normally be granted for vacation purposes.
  3. Leave of absence may be granted when a pupil has been selected for sports or cultural competition at national or international level. Leave of absence should not normally be granted for meetings etc., but only for the competition itself and the required travel to and from the event destination.
  4. Leave of absence may be granted for various family events. Leave of absence may also be granted for serious illness, death and funerals of close family members. Leave of absence under this provision may be granted in periods in which preparation for and completion of examinations take place as described under a) and at the start of the school year as described under b).

7. Unauthorised absence in primary school
If pupils are absent from school for longer than the period for which they have been granted leave of absence or are absent without having been granted leave of absence, this will be regarded as undocumented absence. Pupils who are absent for more than two weeks (not applicable to health-related reasons) will be suspended from school and their place made available to other pupils. Please refer also to the section entitled ‘Children who do not attend school’ in the guide for schools and school management published by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, cf. letter to the municipalities from the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training of 12.7.2011.


8. Applications for leave of absence
All applications for leave of absence must be submitted electronically and stored by the school concerned. Applications for leave of absence must be submitted to the school in good time before the planned leave of absence. If the application for leave of absence is refused in whole or in part, the school must provide a reason. If an application for leave of absence is refused, the parents/guardians must be informed in writing of their right to appeal and appeal procedures, cf. Sections 28, 29 and 30 of the Norwegian Public Administration Act.
If the parents/guardians wish to appeal the decision, the decision must first be reconsidered by the school and, if upheld, the decision must be escalated to the childhood and culture director.

To apply for leave of absence for your child, please click here