Authorised and unauthorised absence from school

Good school attendance greatly improves your child’s chances of fulfilling their potential and being successful in school.  It is also especially important that the council identifies any children who are missing education as they may be at risk of significant harm.

Page Contents

Your responsibilities to ensure your child’s school attendance

As a parent you have a legal responsibility to make sure your child gets a full-time education that suits their age, ability and aptitude and any special needs. You may be given a Penalty Notice or prosecuted if your child does not attend school regularly and on time.

Schools are required by law to keep attendance registers for morning and afternoon sessions.

Absences must either be marked as:

  • authorised (only the school can authorise the absence) or
  • unauthorised (where no acceptable reason is given)

It is your responsibility to ensure that your child arrives at school on time. Late arrival at school may result in a child:

  • feeling stressed
  • learning less and achieving poorer outcomes
  • disrupting the learning of others

If your child arrives after the end of registration the absence may be recorded as unauthorised for that session. If your child continues to be late, formal action in the form of a Penalty Notice or legal action may follow.

The council has produced a code of conduct in line with government guidance and legislation. There is also a parents and carers guide to penalty notices.

Reasons for authorised absence

There may be valid reasons why your child is unable to attend school.  

If your child is too unwell to attend school, you must notify the school as soon as possible. If a school notices a pattern of absence, they will contact you to see if any support is needed.