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Attendance regulations

As a parent/guardian you may be concerned about your children going to school. Some may be thinking of continuing to home educate  for the foreseeable future. 


There are a number of duties around attendance: 

  • parents must ensure their child attends school regularly where the child is a registered pupil, and they are of compulsory school age 

  • schools have a responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence 

  • local authorities have availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with our code of conduct (PDF) [155KB] (opens new window) .

View the information on Wellbeing support in schools on the GOV.UK website (opens new window)  for advice on how schools are advised to support pupils with mental health needs. 

View the information on  Supporting pupils with medical conditions at school on the GOV.UK website (opens new window) for details about how schools should support pupils with medical conditions. 

Schools should be clear that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies, for example: 

  • the pupil has been granted a leave of absence 

  • is unable to attend because of sickness  

  • is absent for a necessary religious observance 

Non attendance

If schools have tried to encourage regular school attendance, for example, by: 

then they may consider referring the matter to us for legal action to be taken.  
We will investigate the circumstances by gathering information from school, parents and other agencies. We'll make every effort to resolve any issues before giving consideration to possible legal action.  

Changes to school attendance penalty notices from 19 August 2024

There are important changes to school attendance penalty notices (DfE) which will come into effect from 19 August 2024. This will affect the rules around penalty notices issued to parents for their child's poor school attendance, including holidays taken during term time.

Issuing of a penalty notice

There is a new national threshold of 10 unauthorised sessions, within a rolling 10 school week.

Increase in penalty notice amount

Previous fineIf paid within 21 daysNew fineIf paid within 21 days

Escalation in cases of repeat offences

Any second penalty notice issued to the same parent for the same child within a rolling 3 year period, will be charged at the higher rate of £160 with no option for this second offence to be discharged at the lower rate of £80.

Limited number of penalty notices per parent

A national limit of 2 penalty notices can be issued to a parent for the same child within a rolling 3-year period. At the 3rd (or subsequent) offence(s) another tool, such as prosecution, will be considered.

For more information please visit the website (opens new window).