Attendance and holidays in term time

Please click here for our attendance policy

Regular school attendance - why it's so important

Going to school regularly is important to your child’s future. For example, children who miss school frequently can fall behind with their learning and make less progress than they are capable of. Research suggests that children who attend school regularly could also be at less risk of getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.

School attendance and absence: the law

By law, all children of compulsory school age (five to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. For most parents, this means registering their child at a school - though some choose to make other arrangements to provide a suitable, full-time education.  Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly. If your child fails to do so, you risk getting a penalty notice or being prosecuted.

Preventing your child from missing school: what you can do

You can help your child by:

  • making sure they understand the importance of good attendance and punctuality

  • taking an interest in their education - ask about school work and encourage them to get involved in school activities

  • discussing any problems they may have at school - inform their teacher or headteacher about anything serious

  • not letting them take time off school for minor ailments - particularly those which would not prevent you from going to work

Arranging appointments and outings after school hours, at weekends or during school holidays will help to prevent disruption to your child’s education and to the school. Under normal circumstances, you should not expect the school to agree to your child going on holiday during term time.

Support on school attendance

Support from the school

School is the first place to go to discuss any attendance problems. A member of the school’s leadership team will meet you to discuss any problems or issues you may have and where necessary will agree a plan with you to improve your child’s attendance. 

Authorised/Unauthorised absence

Authorised absences from school

Any time you are planning to take your child out of school during term time, you need to ask the school headteacher to give permission for you to do so. Absence will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.  These are some examples:

  • Family bereavement or funeral

  • Doctor, hospital or dental appointments

  • Wedding of a close/direct family member

 Warden Park Academy Trust Policy is in line with government guidelines to not authorise holidays during term time. If you do not ask the headteacher’s permission, or they do not give it and you take your child out of school anyway, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

These are some examples:

  • Family holidays

  • Shopping trips

  • Waiting in for a delivery

  • Family birthdays

  • Visits from relatives

  • Family outings

  • Not having the correct school uniform

Holidays during term time - what the law says

  • You should not normally take your child on holiday in term time - it can be disruptive both to your child's learning and to the school. For this reason, at Warden Park Primary Academy, all holiday absences during term time will be deemed unauthorised.

  • Parents often assume that they are automatically allowed to take their child out of school (especially during the last weeks of term) for a pre-booked family holiday. This isn't true.

Penalty notices for unauthorised absence

You could be issued with a penalty notice if your child is absent from school without permission or if they are absent from school with authorisation for a period of longer than five days (ten school sessions) in a ten week period. The penalty is £60 per child, per parent, rising if not paid within 28 days. If you fail to pay a penalty fine within 42 days you may be prosecuted.

Adapted from School attendance, absence and your child – Direct Gov website – July 2012 (see a Brief Guide to Fixed Penalty Notices)

See also West Sussex County Council's guidance on frequently asked questions about fixed penalty notices.


If you have a reason to withdraw your child from school during term time complete this form and either hand to the school office or email to

Paper copies are available from the school office