School attendance information for parents
When your child needs to attend school
Children must get a full-time education that meets their needs — either by attending school or through home education. This is legally required under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.
Children must start full-time education from the school term after their fifth birthday. They must stay in full-time education until the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.
Parents are legally required to make sure their children attend school regularly. This means your child must attend school on every day their school requires them to. Your child's school will tell you what days you child needs to attend and how to tell them if your child is going to be absent or late.
You could get a penalty notice or be prosecuted if your child is missing school without authorisation.
It can be extremely hard for a pupil to catch up on missed work, regular absence can really disadvantage your child in life. Children who miss one day each week from school, are missing out on 20% of their education.
|Attendance during one school year
|Equals days absent
|Approximately this many weeks absent
|Which means this many lessons missed
Children who are ill
If your child is too ill to attend school, you should contact the school on the first day of absence. If they're off school for more than one day, you should keep in regular contact with the school throughout this time.
If your child attends school but is too ill to complete the school day, the school will contact you.
You should avoid taking your child out of school for non-urgent medical or dental appointments as much as possible. Try to schedule doctor's and dentist's appointments after school or during the school holidays.
If a medical appointment during school hours is unavoidable, you should speak to your child's headteacher. You should also try to minimise disruption to your child's school day.
Leave during term-time
You should not book a family holiday during term time. Whilst you may think this is beneficial, taking a holiday during term time means that children miss important school time and it will be difficult for them to catch up on work.
Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. In this instance, the headteacher will determine the length of time a child can be away from school. Please note, leave is unlikely to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.
If after considering whether there are exceptional circumstances and the school does not agree the absences, you take your child out of school, the school may record this as unauthorised absence. This could result in a penalty notice being issued by the local authority and as a result you may be fined in respect of each parent and each child, payable up to £120 for each. This means that two parents and two children could receive fines amounting to a maximum £480. If you choose not to pay the fine, the local authority may take legal proceedings against you.
Late arrival at school
If your child arrives late at school, they miss important events like assembly, additional support and introductions. Children also feel embarrassed at having to enter the classroom late.
Frequent lateness can add up to a considerable amount of learning being lost. This can seriously disadvantage your child and disrupt the learning of others. Please help your child to be punctual.