School Attendance Rules That Parents Must Be Aware Of

Following a very recent news that a couple who took their children away on a week long holiday during the school term have been ordered to pay £993 in cost and fine, we thought it necessary to remind parents what the school attendance rules are especially with some stricter rules that came in force from 1st September 2013.

  • Parents in England and Wales have a legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school (unless they have opted to home-educate them). If they fail to do so, they are committing an offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.
  • Parents can put in requests for term-time holidays, but these requests are granted or refused entirely at the head teacher’s discretion and are not a parental right.
  • Heads in England were previously able to grant up to 10 days of leave a year for family holidays in “special circumstances”. But since 1 September 2013, they have no longer been able to grant any absence in term time except under “exceptional circumstances”.
  • If parents in England and Wales fail to ensure their children attend school, they may be issued with penalty notices of £50 to £100. Prosecution can result in a fine of up to £2,500, a jail sentence of up to three months or a community sentence.

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