Parents are responsible for making sure that their children of compulsory school age receives a suitable full-time education. This can be by regular attendance at school, at alternative provision, or otherwise; for example, the parent can choose to educate their child at home.
Local authorities have the right to issue parents with a fine ('fixed penalty notice') or prosecute them if their child does not attend school regularly.
Penalty notices are fines of £60 or £120 (dependant on when paid) imposed on parents.
Responsibility of the School
Schools must keep a record of pupils attendance. The government provide more information and guidance about school attendance.
Schools have to decide whether absences are authorised or unauthorised.
Unauthorised absences include:
- being absent for a holiday in term time unless agreed with the school
- minding the house
- looking after siblings or parents
- going shopping
- celebrating a birthday
- arriving late for school
Authorised absence may include:
- medical appointments
- days of religious observance
- leave granted in exceptional circumstances
Only the headteacher can authorise a child's absence from school.
Parents should let the school know straightaway if their child is going to be absent from school.
Schools will follow up all absences, so you may receive a telephone call to check where your child is.
Helping your child have good attendance at school
Parents can help their child have good attendance at school by making sure they arrive on time, take holidays when schools are closed, making sure that medical appointments are made, where possible, outside school hours.
If a parent is concerned about their child’s education then they should talk to the child’s teacher or headteacher.
You may find useful information and help through: