Dear Mr Gove,
I have just received the following letter in the post. I have changed the name of the student and the school but the remainder of the letter is accurate.
You may not be aware that one of your pupils - John Peterson has been an active member of St John Ambulance since he was 6 years old and a Cadet for nearly 4 years.
During his time so far as a Cadet he has spent 268 hours training and accrued over 300 hours of volunteering both on duty providing direct care to the public and as a youth helper with our younger members.
John is a Cadet Sergeant and has just completed the Grand Prior Award Scheme which entails completion of 24 subjects over a minimum of 3.5 years. Because of John's hard work, commitment and determination during his work towards the Grand Prior award he has been recognised for his achievements and is invited to a Buckingham Palace reception held by her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, our Commandant in Chief. This reception will be held in the Bow Room of Buckingham Palace on [Date removed].
The purpose of this letter is to respectfully ask for your consideration in granting John an Authorised Absence on that day when his parents approach you with this request.
Thank you in advance
At the moment I have discretion and will grant John an Authorised Absence but what should I tell him and his family (or others in a similar position) when I no longer have this discretion?