The importance of regular school attendance
Regular attendance at school is vital to help children achieve and get the best possible start in life.
Children who frequently miss school often fall behind. There is a strong link between good school attendance and achieving good results. For example, only 12% of pupils with below 80% school attendance achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and Maths, compared to 68% for pupils with attendance greater than 95%.
Good attendance at school shows potential employers that a young person is reliable. Young people who are frequently absent from school are more likely to become involved in, or be a victim of crime and anti-social behaviour.
All schools in Leeds have their own attendance policies and are responsible for keeping accurate records of pupil attendance. They will contact parents directly if they have any concerns about a child’s attendance. Leeds City Council offers a range of services to support families who encounter difficulties in ensuring their children attend school regularly.
Your responsibilities as a parent
All children aged between 5 and 16 are required by law to receive an education, and it is the duty of parents and carers to ensure that they are supported to do so.
Children sometimes have to miss school because of illness or if they have long term medical issues. If this is the case, parents should contact school the same day to let them know the reason that their child is not in school.
Changes to government legislation from 1 September 2013
From 1 September 2013, a change to government legislation means that schools are no longer allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school for a holiday during term time.
Requests for leave can only be granted by schools if there are exceptional circumstances, and holidays are not considered exceptional. Requests for leave must also be made to the school in advance, as the Department for Education has told schools that they cannot authorise any absences after they have been taken.
A penalty notice is a fine to parents or carers if they fail to ensure that their child/ren attend school regularly. Leeds City Council is responsible for issuing penalty notices on behalf of schools in the city.
If a penalty notice is issued, it will be one fine to cover the whole period of the absence. So the fine would be the same amount for an absence of five days or 10 days. For example, a parent could be issued with a £60 fine if their child misses one day of school each week over a five week period, whilst another parent might be issued the same fine for one two-week block of absence.
Penalty fines are £60 per child per parent if paid within 21 days, and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. If the fine is not paid, parents will be reported for prosecution.
If a parent loses their Penalty Notice they can ring 0113 378 4895and the attendance team will be happy to give them the PN number and the telephone number they need in order to pay the fine. They can also email the attendance team on
For further information, see the 'FAQs - Changes to attendance legislation' in the
section on this page.
Please contact your child’s school directly for details of their attendance policy.