This is a new service - your feedback will help us to improve it.

School attendance and absence

Your responsibilities as a parent

By law, all children aged between 5 and 16 must get an efficient and suitable, full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for making sure this happens. You can register your child at a school, or make other arrangements.

If your child is registered at a school, you are responsible for making sure they attend regularly. You can only allow your child to miss school if:

  • they’re too ill to go
  • the head teacher has given their permission in advance

If they are absent for any other reason, you could be fined or prosecuted.

Download list

Asking the school for permission for your child to miss school

You should talk to the headteacher of your child’s school to make a request. They can only allow it if the reason you give is ‘exceptional’. A cheaper holiday, for example, would not be an exceptional reason but it’s up to the headteacher to decide what is.

The headteacher will write to you to let you know if they authorise the absence.

If it’s not authorised and your child misses school anyway, they will ask us to issue a penalty notice. This is also known as a school attendance fine.

Medical appointments

Try to book medical and dental appointments outside of the school day. If that’s not possible, ask the school in advance for a leave of absence. Collect your child before the appointment and take them back to school afterwards.

Problems that stop your child from going to school

You should talk to the school if there are any problems at school or home that stop your child from going to school. They will support you and give you access to other services that can help. For example, you can get support from:

  • a dedicated member of staff at school
  • healthcare professionals
  • council officers (for help with things like housing or transport)

In the meantime, you should still do everything you can to help your child attend as much as possible.

What happens if your child is absent from school without permission

We will issue a penalty notice if your child misses school during term time and the reason you give is not ‘exceptional’.

Walsall Council has the legal power to do this under Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.

If you’ve received a penalty notice, you can pay it online.

There are further legal powers that we can use if your child is missing school. Find out about legal action to enforce school attendance on GOV.UK.