School Attendance

All Milton Keynes schools have their own attendance policies and are responsible for managing pupil attendance.  Please refer to the attendance policy at your child’s school for further information.

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. In fact, there is a strong link between regular school attendance and achieving good grades at GCSE - having an attendance rate of 80% is equivalent to missing a day a week.

Your responsibilities as a parent

Children must receive a full time education between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16 (Y11). If your child fails to attend school regularly you may be guilty of a criminal offence and this could result in a prosecution. All Milton Keynes schools have their own attendance policies and are responsible for managing pupil attendance. Read the NHS guidance on is your child too ill for school.

Authorised and unauthorised absence

If your child cannot attend school, you should contact the school as early as possible to explain why your child needs to be absent and to obtain permission to ensure the absence is authorised.

Only the school can authorise your child’s absence. An authorised absence is where the school has given approval in advance or has accepted an explanation for the absence afterwards. In most cases this will be due to your child being ill. If your child has a lot of absence due to illness the school may ask for GP or other medical evidence to enable them to make a decision about authorising the absence.

If the school does not accept the reason for absence or no reason is given the absence will be marked as “unauthorised” and you will place yourself at risk of prosecution or of receiving another financial sanction.

Emotionally Based School Avoidance

In Milton Keynes, as well as nationally, we are seeing an increase in children and young people experiencing difficulty in attending school due to emotional reasons like anxiety. Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) is a broad umbrella term used to describe this. EBSA can present differently across individuals, but can often involve fear and anxiety, misery, complaints of feeling ill without an obvious cause, and/or reluctance to leave home. You can read more about EBSA here.

Medical appointments

Try to arrange appointments during school holidays, at weekends or after school hours. Naturally, there will be times when this is not possible but you must try to give as much advance warning as possible and take the appointment letter or card into school to ensure they are aware of the absence and the reasons for it.

Religious festivals

Ask your school in advance for time off for religious reasons. Only the day of the actual religious festival/celebration will be “authorised”.

Persistent lateness after the register has closed

If your child is persistently late after the register the school can ask the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. An explanation of Fixed Penalty Notices is given below.

Holidays/leave during term time

Schools are no longer allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school in term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. If you take a holiday which is not authorised by the school then they may refer the matter to the Local Authority who will consider the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) are issued to each parent and are for each child. A FPN is £60 if paid within 21 days, and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. If the fine is not paid, parents will be prosecuted in the magistrates’ court.

If a FPN 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. Please refer to the frequently asked questions for further information and the FPN alternative sanctions.

You can make a payment for a Fixed Penalty Notice by selecting Fixed Penalty Notices – School Attendance Payment on our 'Pay for it' page found here. You will need the serial number of the FPN to make an on-line payment - this will start with the letters SA.

For further information on anything to do with school attendance please email school attendance.

School Attendance

School Attendance contact information

Children Missing Education, Education, Sufficiency and Access, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ