School attendance issues

By law, children aged between 5 and 16 years must receive education at school or through alternative arrangements such as home education. Parents are responsible for ensuring this happens.

If your child is absent from school without approval by the school, the local authority could take legal action against you.

You can help by:

  • Making sure your child regularly attends school, arrives on time and attends all lessons
  • Working with the school to resolve any issues that may be preventing your child from regularly attending school
  • Contacting the school if your child is ill, on the first day of the child’s illness
  • Requesting permission for your child to be absent from school at the earliest opportunity – a form is available from the school
  • Taking an interest in your child’s school work

Holidays during term-time

From September 2013, there is no legal entitlement for parents to take their children on holiday during term-time and that headteachers can only authorise leave during term-time in exceptional circumstances. Going on holiday during term-time is not classed as exceptional circumstances.

For exceptional circumstances, the leave must be approved in advance by the headteacher.

School attendance officers monitor school attendance and work with the school and parents to ensure children regularly attend school. If your child continues to miss school, legal action, such as a fixed penalty notice of up to £120, a fine of up to £2,500 for each child who is not attending school or imprisonment for up to 3 months, can be taken against you. Please see  Penalty Notice Code of Conduct
Absence and Exclusion
 for further information.

Alternatively, parents may be given the option to enter into a parenting contract. This is a voluntary agreement between the parent and school or local authority, which addresses the reasons surrounding the non-attendance at school.