Melbourn Primary School

Making Learning Irresistible


Regular attendance at school is vital. Put simply, absence means missed learning; without it the learning process becomes fragmented and unsatisfactory. Melbourn Primary School wants every child to have the best possible attendance at school to enable them to maximise their potential. There is a strong link between good school attendance and achieving good results for children. Children who frequently miss school may fall behind in their work which may affect their prospects. Absence may also have an effect on friendships. 

The school sees 96% attendance or above as the target for all pupils. Amendments to the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006 and September 2013 make clear that Headteachers may not authorise holidays (or other leave of absence) in term time unless there are very exceptional circumstances. The school upholds these regulations and supports the use of financial penalties and court action where necessary.

DfE Guidance for parents on school attendance


Members of the Attendance Action Alliance have worked with the Department for Education to develop this short guide which helps parents understand how they can work with their school and local authority to support their children to attend school and get the right support.

GOV.UK/NHS Guidance for parents on school attendance

Penalty Notices for absence


If 3 or more term time leave Penalty Notices have been issued over a 3-year period then prosecution in relation to Section 444 Education Act 1996, may be considered as an alternative to a Penalty Notice fine being issued. Where a parent takes a child out of school during term time for an extended period (20 days or more), not authorised by the school, prosecution in relation to Section 444 Education Act 1996, may also be considered by the Local Authority.

Non-attendance and the law


All parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special needs. Most parents fulfil their legal obligation by registering their child in a school.


Children must legally be in education between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. Raising the participation age means that young people must continue with some form of education or training until they are 18.



Non-attendance at school


Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school is a criminal offence. If with support from the school's attendance officer and/or the Local Authority, your child’s attendance does not improve, the Local Authority will consider one of two actions:


Penalty Notice. We can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If payment is not received within 28 days from the issue of the penalty notice, we may prosecute you for the offence of 'irregular attendance'. You could then be subject to a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.


Prosecution in the Magistrates' court. Both parents could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to three months each. The court may also give you a Parenting Order.