Penalty notices

Absence requests

Taking a child out of school during term-time disrupts their learning and other pupils in their class.

You should only authorise absences in exceptional circumstances. The headteacher has the final decision on whether to authorise an absence.

It is important that all schools are consistent in their message to parents.

Use the ‘withdrawal from learning application’ or use the warning it contains on your school’s own form.

Withdrawal from learning application [145.5 KB] [doc]

The absence procedure

The parent must complete and return a 'withdrawal from learning' application.

The headteacher makes a decision, completes the form and returns the form to the parent, keeping a full copy on file.

Unauthorised absence

If you do not authorise the absence, but the child is absent:

  • Send the form to the Legal Interventions Team confirming the date you received and denied the request by email to
  • Attach copies of the registration certificate confirming the unauthorised absence and the registration certificate for the previous academic year.
  • Attach details of any other contact in relation to the absence.

Once they receive all the information, the Inclusion Team will investigate and take appropriate action.

Penalty notices guidance for schools and academies [623.5 KB] [doc]

Absence documents

Parent letters 

Letter templates can be found in the process for requesting a fixed penalty notice [845.5 KB] [doc].

Government guidance

Working together to improve school attendance | GOV.UK


Actively discourage absence and late arrival. Arriving after the close of registration causes disruption in class.

Each school sets its own registration length agreed with the governing body.

Your attendance policy should state how long registers are open. Government guidance says that registers can be open for a maximum of 30 minutes from the start of registration.

When a pupil is late or absent

When deciding whether to issue a penalty notice for lateness, consider whether this will be effective in:

  • improving attendance
  • avoiding a repeating pattern

Mark a pupil arriving after the register closed as absent with code U. This counts as a whole session absence.

Mark a pupil who is absent without authorisation or notification from the parent (like illness) with code O.

Be alert to patterns of absence and late arrival. Ask the parent about the absence or lateness and offer support where necessary.

Contact the Inclusion Team

For advice contact the Inclusion Team.

Phone: 01273 481 967

More information

Penalty Notice Code of Conduct [547.5 KB] [docx]

Related information

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