When a child can have a day off school

The headteacher at your child’s school is responsible for authorising any absences. 

A child can have a day off school:

  • if the child is ill and unable to attend school for a medical reason you must provide evidence
  • in exceptional circumstances such as the death of an immediate family member or to attend a funeral.

Who authorises absence

Headteachers are responsible for authorising absences under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995.

As a parent or carer, you cannot authorise absences and must contact your child's school as soon as possible if they become ill. You will need written notification with the reason your child was absent when they return to school.  

The school must investigate all cases of pupils with high levels of absence.

If an absence is not authorised

If the headteacher does not authorise the absence it will be recorded as unauthorised on your child’s attendance record.

The school or academy will have to make a referral to the Attendance Advisory Service to Schools and Academies (AASSA) if your child has more than 10 sessions (five school days) of unauthorised absence.

If this is the case, legal action could be taken and could result in either:

  • prosecution under Section 4441/4441A of The Education Act 1996
  • a penalty notice which would need to be paid by each parent for each child. If you fail to pay this you will be prosecuted.