School attendance and absence

Attendance at school is vital for a child’s ability to learn, develop and achieve. You are legally responsible for making sure that your child(ren) gets a full time education either through school or other suitable arrangements.

As a parent or carer of a child of school age you should -

  • send your child(ren) to school on time every day, in the correct uniform and with the required equipment
  • contact your child(ren)’s school on the first day of absence if they are unwell and return them to school when fully recovered
  • don’t let your child(ren) stay off school for minor illnesses, access NHS site for advice and information
  • take holidays only during school holidays
  • arrange appointments such as doctors, dentists or opticians before or after school

Your child(ren)’s school may request appointment cards, letters or prescriptions as evidence of their absence. Authorisation is only given by the head teacher.

If you are worried about your child(ren)’s attendance you should contact the school for advice to help identify any problems that are stopping them from attending regularly. 

Your school may contact you if they are concerned about your child(ren)’s attendance and may refer the matter onto the Education Welfare Service for legal action.

School penalty notices

A penalty notice is a fine issued to parents or carers for children’s unauthorised absence from school. 

Penalty notices can be issued for -

  • unauthorised absence
  • lateness to school
  • holidays not authorised by the school

The penalty notice is £60 if paid within 21 days, which increases to £120 after this date and must be paid in full within 28 days. Payment must be made in one payment.

Pay a school penalty notice 

There are several methods we accept payments for a school penalty notice - 

Appeal a school penalty notice

If you feel that an absence should have been authorised please contact the school directly to discuss this with them. If you are still not satisfied after speaking to the school you can contact the school governors, stating your reasons why you think the penalty notice should not have been issued.

If you wish to make an appeal please complete the online form below -

If the appeal is received within 21 days a hold is placed on the school penalty notice until a decision is made.

Government guidance on school attendance

Access here for guidance on school attendance

Find out more information on recording attendance in relation to COVID-19