Attendance at school

You must make sure your child gets a full-time education that meets their needs (eg if they have special educational needs). You can send your child to school or educate them yourself.

Children must get an education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

If your child is unexpectedly missing from school and we think you’re not giving them home education, you’ll be contacted by the school or a educational welfare officer. They’ll contact you even if your child is only missing for a day.

You can be prosecuted if you don’t give your child an education. You’ll normally get warnings and offers of help from the local council first.

When your child can miss school

You can only allow your child to miss school if either:

  • they’re too ill to go in
  • you’ve got advance permission from the school

Extra support is available if your child can’t go to school for long periods because of a health problem.

Non-attendance and holidays during school time

Doctors, dentist and other appointments should be arranged after school hours, at weekends or during school holidays to help to prevent disruption to your child's education and to the school. 

You should not expect your child's school to agree to your child going on holiday during term time and if you do take them out of school without permission this too may result in a fixed penalty notice.


If you are having trouble making sure your child goes to school, you can receive help and advice. Visit the truancy section for details.

Contact us