School Attendance Service

If children do not attend school regularly, they may not be able to keep up with school work. In a busy school day it is difficult for schools to find the extra time to help a child catch up. If a child misses just five days each term over all the years he or she is at school, this is equivalent to missing one whole school year.  

By law, all children of compulsory school age (between 5 and 16) must get a suitable, full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for making sure this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements which provide a suitable full-time education .

Once your child is registered at a school you are responsible for making sure he or she attends regularly. If your child fails to attend regularly – even if they miss school without you knowing – the Attendance Service may take legal action against you. You run the risk of being issued with a penalty notice or being taken to court  

You should not expect your child’s school to agree to an absence for a holiday in term time. Taking a holiday during term time means that children miss important school time – both educationally and for other school activities. It will be difficult for them to catch up on work later on. Parents do not have a legal right to take children out of school on holiday.

Guide for parents

Good attendance

Good school attendance helps children learn and achieve. For this reason Slough Borough Council and the schools in the area are committed to improving attendance.

Children who regularly attend school are likely to:

  • learn more
  • meet friends
  • get good examination results
  • have a better chance of getting a good job.

Poor attendance

Poor attendance can result in children:

  • getting left behind
  • having difficulty with the work and exams
  • not meeting friends and becoming isolated.

Examples of poor attendance are occasional days off on a regular basis, long periods out of school, holidays in term time and regular lateness.

If a child misses just five days each term over all the years they are at school, this is equivalent to missing one whole school year.

Your responsibilities as a parent

Parents must make sure their children aged 5-16 attend school and most do. Some parents do not, even after receiving support and advice from the Attendance Service.

If parents do not take this responsibility seriously we will have to take action and this could include issuing penalty notices.

Term-time holiday

Taking your child out of school during term time will affect their education and every effort should be made to avoid doing so.

Parents do not have a right to take their children out of school during term. If a holiday is taken in term time, this could lead to a fixed penalty notice.

Exceptional circumstances

Schools can consider requests for leave of absence if there are exceptional circumstances.

If you have an exceptional circumstance, contact your child's headteacher in writing to request leave.

If you go for longer, or fail to ask the headteacher, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. This could lead to:

  • your child losing their school place
  • a penalty notice
  • legal action by the local authority which could result in a fine up to £2,500.

Penalty notices

A penalty notice is a fine of £120 if paid within 28 days. This is reduced to £60 if you pay within 21 days.

Parents whose children are away from school without a good reason could receive a penalty notice. Examples include persistent lateness, truancy and holidays taken in term time.

If your child misses 5 days in any 12 week period, you could be liable for a fine. If you take time out of school without the headteacher's permission, or if your leave is longer than agreed, you may receive a penalty notice,

Parents will receive a warning before a penalty notice unless it is for unauthorised holiday. In the case of an unauthorised holiday, the notice will be issued when the holiday is taken.

    For more information email the Attendance Service or call 01753 787670. This number is for school attendance queries only - we do not have the facility to transfer you to other council services.

    Who to contact

    Attendance Service
    01753 787670
    Slough Borough Council 

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