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Get ready for Brexit. Information on how we are preparing for Brexit in South Gloucestershire.

Authorised and unauthorised absence from school

Good school attendance greatly improves your child’s chances of fulfilling their potential and being successful in school.

As a parent you have a legal responsibility to make sure your child gets a full-time education that suits their age, ability and aptitude and any special needs unless you are home educating. You may be given a Penalty Notice or prosecuted if your child doesn’t attend school regularly and punctually.

Schools are required by law to keep attendance registers for morning and afternoon sessions.

Absences must either be marked as:

  • authorised (only the school can authorise the absence); or
  • unauthorised (where no acceptable reason given)

It is especially important we identify any children who are missing education as they may at risk of significant harm. In some cases, there will be a good reason why your child is not at school; they may be being educated at home or have health issues which mean they cannot attend. If this is the case the school must be notified as soon as possible and they can offer support if needed.

In line with the government guidance and legislation we have produced a code of conduct. We have also produce a parents and carers guide to penalty notices.

Holiday in term time

In line with government guidance and legislation parents are advised not to take holidays in term time.  If holidays are taken schools can code such absences as unauthorised. In this instance a Penalty Notice (fine up to £120 per parent per pupil) or other formal procedures may follow.


If a child is too unwell to attend school their school must be notified as soon as possible. If a school recognises a pattern of absence they will contact the parents to see if any support is needed.


It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure their children arrive at school on time. Late arrival at school may result in a young person:

  • feeling greater stress
  • learning less and achieving poorer outcomes
  • disrupt the learning of others

If a pupil arrives after the end of registration the absence may be recorded as unauthorised for that session. If lateness persists, formal action in the form of a Penalty Notice or legal action may follow.

For schools

Local attendance guidance for schools can be found under ‘downloads’ to the right of this page. Appendices to this guidance can be found under ‘related links’.

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