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School attendance

All children of compulsory school age (5 – 16 years) must receive a full-time education by law.

Children must get an education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

Parents or carers are responsible for making sure this happens, either by registering the child at a school and making sure they attend or by providing other appropriate education such as home schooling.

If your child does not attend school regularly, you could be fined or even have to attend court.

If they have a good reason to be absent, such as sickness, contact the school on the first day and write a letter of explanation for their return.

Read our FAQs or visit GOV.UK for more about school attendance.

Pay an Education Penalty Notice

You may be issued with an Education Penalty Notice if:

  • You take your child on holiday for five days or more during term-time, which has not been approved by the school
  • Your child has incurred unauthorised absences during a school term due to non-school attendance
  • If your child has been excluded from school and you fail to ensure they are not in a public place during the first 5 days of exclusion

Each parent may receive a separate penalty notice for each child taken out of school or failing to attend.

You need to pay the fine within 28 days of it being issued. If you don’t you could be taken to court, fined up to £1,000 and will get a criminal record. Payments can be made at Kingsley House, Gillingham.

Pay early. Pay less.
If you're paying the fine in the first 21 days of getting it, pay £60. Otherwise, pay £120.