If your child does not attend school regularly (over 90%) the Local Authority can take action against you.  This can be through a Fixed Penalty Notice (fine) or a summons to appear at Magistrates Court.

There are 190 days in a school year which leaves 175 days to spend on family time, shopping, appointments and other things.



The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced legislation for Local Authorities to issue Fixed Penalty Notice Fines to parents/carers of pupils who have unauthorised absences from school. 

A Penalty Notice fine can be issued for two reasons:

If a holiday is taken during term time without the permission of the Head Teacher

If a pupil has unauthorised absence from school and their parent/carer fails to co-operate with school staff and/or other professionals to improve the situation

What are the fines?

£120 per parent/carer reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days.  If the £120 is not paid within 28 days a summons can be issued to appear in Magistrates' Court.  The Local Authority can decide whether to issue a summons to Magistrates' Court instead of a fixed Penalty Notice fine.


There is a link between good school attendance and high level attainment.  Regardless of the reason, if your child is absent from school it will impact on their learning.  Parents/carers are legally responsible for ensuring their child attends school on time everyday.

Medical Appointments

Where possible all appointments should be booked outside of school hours. Where this is not possible, the amount of school time missed must be kept to a minimum. School may not authorise the time off school if medical evidence is not provided.

Too ill to attend school?

Children can attend school with minor ailments (toothache, headache, stomach ache, cold, sore throat) over the counter medicines can be given before school. School will contact you if they become too ill to remain in school. Children should be off school for 48 hours if they have diarrhoea or vomiting.

If you are unsure how long your child should be absent with an illness speak to your child’s school, your doctor or your pharmacist for advice.

Unauthorised leave in Term Time (Holidays)

Children are not entitled to holidays in term time. Family holidays should be taken during school holiday periods.

Requests for leave due to exceptional circumstances preventing the period of leave being taken during school holidays must be made in writing to the Head Teacher.

Fines of £120 per parent/carer reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days may be issued where unauthorised leave has been taken during term time.

Absence during Term Time

Children must not be absent from school for:

Day trips, Shopping, Birthdays, Baby Sitting, Parent/carer or sibling illness

Reporting Absence

It is a Parent/carer’s responsibility to notify school if their child is absent. A reason must be provided.


If you are concerned about your child's attendance please speak to the school to discuss your concerns.

Persistent Absence

Any child with attendance below 90%, regardless of the reason for the absence, is considered to be a persistent absentee. This equates to just 2 days each month.

Is your child a persistent absentee?

Statistics show that persistent absentees are less likely to achieve their full potential, and can affect GCSE grades, and a child's future prospects.

The easiest way to ensure your child attends school on time every day is to establish a Good Evening and Morning Routine. If mornings are hectic in your household, prepare as much as possible the night before.


It is important that your child attends school every day and on time. Arriving late to school is unsettling for children.

Further Information

Please see the document below from the Department for Education with further guidance for parents.

Please click here for further advice regarding illness and attending school.

Attendance Matters a Parents Guide
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