Attendance & the law

Regular attendance at school is vital to help children and young people achieve their full potential and get the best possible start in life.

The law states that all children must receive a suitable, full time education between the ages of 5 and 16, and as a parent/carer you are responsible for this.

You can choose how your child receives their education. Usually parents enrol their child in a local school, but you can choose to educate your child at home.

Pay your attendance fine online

Paying fines for unauthorised absences must be done online.

You will need:

  • your customer reference number, found on your fine letter
  • your credit or debit card

Help with getting your child to school

One of the most important things you can do for your child is to make sure they attend school regularly and on time. This starts from the very first time your child attends an education setting, for example nursery or foundation stage.

Having a good morning routine is vital for us all to get a good start to the day when we have things to do. It is especially important for young children to start good habits which will last throughout childhood and beyond.

Starting good attendance and punctuality habits early will help your child’s social development. Making and keeping friendships is easier if your child is there on time, every day.


Be organised. Try planning and preparing equipment needed - the night before if possible, for example PE kit, school bag, packed lunch.

Give you and your child plenty of time to get up, have breakfast and make the journey to school; it gets everyone’s day off to a better, calmer start.

If you feel you need support to improve your child’s attendance, talk to someone in school, or contact us for advice.

Absence from school

We’re committed to making sure that all children go to school every day.

Children who don’t go to school are at risk of underachieving, being harmed or getting in to trouble.

Illness or medical appointments

Medical appointments for your child should be booked outside of school hours. Where this is not possible, the amount of school time missed must be kept to a minimum.

Children can attend school with minor illnesses like colds, sore throats and stomach aches. The school will contact you if your child becomes too ill to remain in school. Children should be kept off school for 2 days if they have diarrhoea or vomiting.

If your child is too ill to go to school you must contact the school to let them know.

Holidays/exceptional leave in term time

Family holidays should be taken during school holiday periods. Your child is expected to be in school every day during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If there are exceptional circumstances requiring your child to be absent from school, then an application for leave should be made to the Head Teacher who will decide whether or not to grant the leave.

Unauthorised absence

Children must not miss school for reasons like birthdays, day trips, shopping or family celebrations.


We work closely with South Yorkshire Police to combat truancy. Monthly truancy sweeps take place across Sheffield, along with additional patrols.

During a sweep every school-aged young person is stopped and their details taken. Many young people stopped are with an adult, without a justified reason for being absent from school.

All young people stopped without a justified reason for absence are followed up, and some information from truancy sweeps is used as evidence in court proceedings against parents.

Legal action

If your child does not attend school regularly (over 90%) we can take action against you. This can be through a fixed penalty notice (a fine) or a summons to appear at Magistrates Court.

Tell us about children missing school

If a child you know is not in school when they should be, please let us know.

We’ll keep your identity secret, unless there is a good reason to disclose it, for example a child is at risk of being harmed.

Prevention and Early Intervention Team

Moorfoot Building

S1 4PL

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