- Rules imposed in 2013 prohibit time off school save for ‘special circumstances’
- Schools fear the rules apply to pupils learning an instrument or performing arts
- It is understood schools are worried they will be marked down by Ofsted
- Calls are now growing for the government to provide more detailed guidance
Schools are using term-time holiday rules to stop children taking music, dance and drama exams because they now count as ‘missing school’.
Pupils who learn a musical instrument or performing arts as extracurricular activities are often required to do exams on weekdays.
For decades, teachers simply allowed children time off to take these tests since they were enriching educational activities.
The Department for Education has said that it is up to headteachers to decide what were ‘exceptional circumstances’ for a pupil being excused classes (stock photo)
But following rules imposed in 2013 that prohibit time off school save for ‘exceptional circumstances’, heads are now reluctant to allow it.
It is understood schools are worried they will be marked down by Ofsted because taking the exam could be seen as an illegal absence.
The Royal Academy of Dance says pupils on its courses have been denied time off and is now calling for more detailed guidance so that teachers feel more confident in granting permission.
The Department for Education said it supported pupils taking dance, music and drama exams and it was up to headteachers to decide what were ‘exceptional circumstances’ for a pupil being excused classes.