Skip to content ↓

Authorised and unauthorised absences

What does authorised and unauthorised absence mean? 
As a school we must follow national legal guidelines which means that holiday requests during term-time cannot be authorised. Because of this, absences or persistent lateness which are not agreed with us, can incur a penalty notice. These penalties are through the local council, and we have no control over how they are given. 

We cannot guarantee that we will authorise a student’s leave of absence during term time, as this is only done in exceptional circumstances. If you don’t get permission from the Principal, the absence is classed as ‘unauthorised’ and this includes lateness. If you want to see if an absence can be authorised, you must contact school in advance and get permission from the Principal. 

What will happen if my child misses school? 
We keep parents up to date with their child’s attendance and confirm absences with them; this makes sure students are supported in their progress at school. 

Our Attendance Team work hard to support students and often identify patterns of non-attendance. They will always work with parents and carers to understand these patterns and see how they can be improved. 

School Attendance and the Law: What does the law say about school attendance? 

All parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special needs. 

Children must legally be in education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16. The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. Raising the participation age means that your child will have to stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year when they turn 18. 

School attendance order 

Should you fail to register your child at a school and not make suitable alternative education arrangements, the council may issue a School Attendance Order requiring you to register your child at a named school. 

Non-attendance at school 
Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school is a criminal offence and if, with support from the school/academy your child’s attendance fails to improve, the council will consider one of two courses of action: 

  1. Penalty fine of £60 (if paid within 21 days), rising to £120 (if paid after 21 days but before 28 days have elapsed). Failing to pay the fine will result in prosecution and being summoned to appear at the Magistrates Court. 
  2. Start a criminal investigation which could lead to you being prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court. 

A Penalty Notice can be issued if: 

  • A child has poor attendance (five sessions (half days) or more of unauthorised absence in the last six weeks) 
  • 10 sessions / 5 days or more of absence due to an unauthorised leave of absence during term time 
  • A child who has been excluded from school is seen in a public place in the first five days of an exclusion. 

It is the responsibility of each parent to ensure regular school attendance and failure to do so will result in each parent being charged with the offence. If convicted, both parents will be punished by the courts, resulting in a fine of up to £2,500 for each parent and / or up to three months custodial sentence. 

Additional support 
If you are concerned about your child’s school attendance, it is always best to talk to us first. We have a dedicated Attendance team who are here to help students and families. 

Students with attendance of less than 97.00% are monitored closely by the Pastoral Team (attendance and year group teams). 

We also have the specialist support of a Wellbeing coach and Community Support Attendance Officer who will be able to offer intensive support guidance to students and families to help to improve attendance.