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Pupil Attendance Service

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Data Policy and Freedom of Information requests

Freedom of Information requests should be made to: [email protected]

There is also date on Elective Home Education and Penalty Notices on the Camden open data website. Information is updated annually in August.


Attendance at school is a high priority for Camden. 

Regular and punctual attendance of pupils at school is a legal and essential requirement in order for students to maximise the opportunities available to them. It is recognised that most parents and carers want to comply with the law and the service will provide advice and assistance where possible to help parents / carers meet their legal obligations. Camden’s minimum attendance expectation for all its students is 95.6% (the National average) although all of Camden’s schools will always strive for 100% attendance from all its students.

DFE attendance guidance states that evidence shows that children who attend school on a regular basis do better in terms of education achievement.

Further guidance on marking attendance is

“Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential … pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.”

Camden in line with DFE guidance supports schools to:

  • Promote good attendance
  • Reduce absences including persistent absences
  • Ensure pupils have access to full time education
  • Act early to address patterns of absence

Camden expects parents to:

  • ensure that where their child is of compulsory school age and registered at a school they will ensure they attend regularly
  • arrive at school on time
  • inform schools if their child is unable to attend school in line with the school attendance policy
  • not take leave in term time Exceptional Leave Form

Legal responsibilities

The Education Act 1996 Section 7 states
“ The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b)to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Educating your child at Home

• The Children Act 1989 (section 36); 
• The Education Act 1996 (sections 7, 19, 436A, 437-39, 443-447); 
• Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (section 8 -10); 
• The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 (ASB Act) (sections 19-24); 
• The Education Act 2005 (section 115); 
• The Education and Inspections Act 2006 (sections 97-111) ; 
• The Education (Parenting Contracts and Parenting Orders) (England) Regulations 2007; 
• The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007; 
• The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012; 
• The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013; and 
• The Education and Skills Act 2008 (section 2 and155). 

Penalty Notice Policy (PDF)

Enforcement Policy (PDF)

Legal sanctions and actions

A referral may be made to the LA under the following circumstances:

  • 10 days of continuous unauthorised absence 
  • More than 10 days of authorised leave
  • A term time holiday taken without permission
  • A pupil who has been marked as with an unauthorised late (after the close of registers) on a minimum of eight occasions in a rolling eight-week period.
  • 85% or less attendance and with 10% or more unauthorised absences

The school may request that the local authority issues a penalty notices will involve the recipient paying a fine, currently £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within days 21-28. These Notices are issued per parent per child with each individual parent and child dealt with as a separate offence.

If court proceedings are undertaken, and proven, a parent may be fined up to £1000 and receive a criminal conviction for a s.444 (1) offence. If convicted of a s.444 (1A) offence (the higher offence) they could receive a fine of up to £2500 up to 3 months in prison and a criminal record. 

The court could also order 

  • A Victim Surcharge
  • Costs for the court cases
  • Parenting Contract as per the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
  • Education Supervision Order 
  • Other community orders at the discretion of the court

Exceptional Leave in term time

Camden strongly advises against taking leave in term.  

There is no entitlement in law for any leave of absence from school in term time.
Taking leave in term time will affect your child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time. 

Remember that any monetary savings you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education. 

Head teachers should not grant leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances based on the individual facts and circumstances of the case which warrant the leave. Where a leave of absence is granted, the head teacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the head teacher’s discretion. 

Parents are required to apply in advance for permission from each school where their child/children is/are enrolled. Where the school is aware that there is a sibling at another school, they should liaise with the head teacher of that school to try to coordinate a consistent response between schools. However in exceptional circumstances schools may make a different decision, given that the head teacher of any school retains the ultimate decision for unauthorised leave.

Only the headteacher can decide if they will grant exceptional leave – no one else in school has permission to do so and leaving an application form is not permission to take leave. The LA fully supports the decisions made by headteachers. 

If a school does not authorise a leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday but the parents still take the child out of school, or the child is kept away for longer than was agreed, the absence is unauthorised. The regulations do not allow schools to give retrospective approval. If the parents did not apply for leave of absence in advance, the absence must be recorded as unauthorised.  The headteacher may request that the LA take legal action against you. Link to legal sanctions page 

Term dates 

School term dates are published in advance and can be found on the school website.  Can we link to the Camden term dates 

Whilst every effort is made for common term dates across the council, there are times that term dates may differ if you have children attending more than one school.  Please check the term dates on each school website and do not assume each school will have the same term dates. 

They are also available from the school office and will be regularly highlighted in the school newsletter.

Staff training days (inset days) are included in the term dates schedule. Parents or carers will receive written notice of any changes in term dates. Those changes would also be published in the calendar on the weekly school newsletter.