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School attendance

When your child can miss school

You can only allow your child to miss school if:

  • They're too ill to go in
  • You've got advance permission for their absence from the school's headteacher
  • They're entitled to free school transport, and the Council has failed to provide this transport
  • There is an unavoidable reason for their absence, which you should discuss with the school

If your child is going to miss all or part of the school day, you must tell the school. If you don't tell them, they may mark it as an unauthorised absence — even if there's a good reason for your child missing school.

The school's headteacher is the only person who can authorise absence. When deciding whether to authorise your child's absence, they will consider the individual circumstances for the request.

Children who are ill

If your child is too ill to attend school, you should contact the school on the first day of absence. If they're off school for more than one day, you should keep in regular contact with the school throughout this time.

If your child attends school but is too ill to complete the school day, the school will contact you.

Extra support is available if your child can't go to school for long periods because of a health issue. You should contact your child's school for further information and advice.

Medical appointments

Your child can miss school to get urgent medical or dental treatment.

You should avoid taking your child out of school for non-urgent medical or dental appointments as far as possible. Try to schedule doctor's and dentist's appointments after school or during the school holidays.

If a medical appointment during school hours is unavoidable, you should speak to your child's headteacher. You should also try to minimise disruption to your child's school day.

Leave in term-time

You must get permission from the headteacher if you want to take your child out of school during term-time. Schools will only agree to this in exceptional circumstances.

You can be fined for taking your child out of school during term-time without the headteacher's permission. For example, if you want to take them on holiday. This is because it is an unauthorised absence.

You should contact your child's school for information about requesting term-time leave.