Attendance and behaviour
School attendance has a direct affect on a child's educational outcomes and is important for your child's future. School attendance enables children to access all available opportunities and reach their full potential. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less.
- By Law, all children between the age of 5 and 16 must be in suitable full time education
- Schools count each day as two sessions - morning and afternoon. Your child has to attend 10 full sessions (five days morning and afternoon) each week to achieve 100 per cent attendance for that week
- If your child has a half day absence, they would have a 90 per cent attendance for that week, if they had a whole day off school their attendance would be 80 per cent and so on. If your child is absent for the whole week they would be given 0 per cent attendance
- Schools then calculate your child's average percentage attendance over the whole term.
- A number of children in any class in any term will achieve 100 per cent attendance and nearly all children in that class will have been to school for over 95 per cent of their time
- Only a few children attend less than 95 per cent of their time
- Yes, as this means your child is having on average a day off every other week
- This may be because they had the odd day here and there and then a few days off for an illness. Over the term it adds up
- Your child's attainment could be seriously affected by a low level of attendance and the school may contact you to discuss the matter
- One of the best ways to help your child is to make all doctors', dentists', opticians' and other appointments for after school hours
- Make sure your child is never late for school
- You should contact your child's school to discuss this matter. Speak to the class teacher, School Attendance Officer, Headteacher or Parent Support Advisor
- If your child has a week off school they could lose up to 20 lessons of English and mathematics depending on how the school organises its lessons
- If you feel there are exceptional circumstances for a period of absence you have to get permission from the Headteacher at the school, or the child will be marked as having unauthorised absence
- A family holiday may not be considered as exceptional unless there are other circumstance which mean it has to happen during the school term
- It is the Headteacher who must decide whether the any circumstances are exceptional
- For more details about school attendance talk to your child's school or contact the Education Welfare Service.
You have a legal responsibility to make sure your children get a suitable education (as set out in the Education Act 1996). For the majority, this means making sure your child is registered at a school and that they attend regularly during term time. If your child fails to attend school regularly you are committing an offence and could be issued with a Penalty Notice or prosecuted, which could result in a fine of up to £2500 or imprisonment for failing to ensure your child regularly attends school. Magistrates can also impose a Parenting Order, which would mean you having to attend parenting classes. The Local Authority can also apply for an Education Supervision Order.
You do not have a legal right to take your children out of school. It is always the Headteacher's decision whether or not to allow you to take your child out of school during term time. If you do not ask their permission in advance, or they do not give it and you take your child out of school anyway, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.
Headteacher's may authorise an absence from school during term time if there are exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances may include
- the death or terminal illness of a person in the immediate family
- service personnel and other employees who cannot take leave outside term time at any point in the academic year.
Family holidays are not generally considered to be an exceptional circumstance. You must make any requests for leave of absence in advance and you must be the parent the child normally lives with. It is important to give the Headteacher as much information as possible when applying for a leave of absence.
A penalty notice is an alternative to you being taken to court by the local authority. If your child has 10 or more sessions of unauthorised absence, the school will inform our Education Welfare Service who may issue a penalty notice for each child to each parent. Anyone who has day to day care of a child is considered a 'parent' and legally responsible for making sure the child attends school, this could be a step parent or a parent not living at the child's home address.
What is the cost?
- The penalty is £120 per child per parent if paid within 28 days. The penalty is reduced to £60 per child per parent if paid within the first 21 days
- If you do not pay the fine within 28 days we have no option but to prosecute you in the Magistrates' Court. This could lead to a fine of up to £,1000 per parent per child.
If you require any information relating to behaviour you should speak to your Child's School and ask to see their behaviour policy.
See more information on the Exclusions of pupils page.
Enquiries and advice
If you are concerned about your child's attendance you should first talk to your child's school.
Alternatively you can contact the Education Welfare Service. Your child's school should provide the email address and mobile number for their allocated Education Welfare Officer.