Authorised and Unauthorised Absence. What is the difference?
Every school, by law, has to register pupils twice a day; first thing in the morning at the start of the school day, and again in the afternoon session. If a pupils fails to attend or arrives late they can be marked as an absence for that session.
If a pupil of compulsory school age is absent, the register must show whether the absence was authorised (acceptable) or unauthorised (where no acceptable reason is given for absence). Only the school can approve the reason for absence.
Where a pupil is absent due to sickness and is genuinely unable to attend school, then the school, after being informed, may authorise a child's absence.
It is important that you phone the school or come into the office if your child is going to be absent at the start of the day. You will receive a phone call from the office if you do not inform us as it is our duty to ensure your child is safe. If we cannot make contact with you then you may receive a home visit from a member of staff.
In law only a Headteacher can authorise a pupil's absence, and may require additional evidence such as a letter from your GP or other medical proof particularly if your child’s attendance is already a concern and below 95%.
The law states that parent/carer(s) must ensure that their child regularly attends the school where they are registered. Should your child fail to attend school regularly legal action may be taken against you.
It is a parent's legal responsibility to ensure that their child, when of statutory school age, accesses education appropriate to age, needs and ability.
Under the terms of the education related provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, each parent/carer(s) may be issued with a Penalty Notice of £60 if:
- You fail to ensure that your child attends school regularly
- You allow your child to take leave of absence in term time without a school’s authorisation
- You fail to return your child to school on an agreed date after a leave of absence
- Your child persistently arrives late for school after the register is closed
Examples of unauthorised Absence may be if your child does not attend because of:
- Going on holiday or travelling abroad
- Days off for birthdays, shopping trips
- Feeling tired
- Bad weather
- Non urgent appointment
- Parent unwell to bring them to school
The Headteacher will only grant a leave of absence for exceptional circumstances. A holiday or travelling abroad is not exceptional.
There are 38 weeks in the year when school is open and 14 weeks (175 DAYS) when families can visit family overseas; go on holiday; travel or attend non urgent medical appointments.
So before you ask for leave of absence please consider… Is your request for leave of absence exceptional?
Categorising Authorised Absence
Authorised absence is granted under the following circumstances:
- Exceptional Circumstance
- Days of religious observance
- Medical/dental appointments that cannot take place out of school hours.
- Illness – with written parental consent (this does not automatically authorise absence, authorisation by the HoTL) or a medical note.
- Education off-site
- Education visits e.g. another setting.
- Approved sporting activity
- Interview Not attending in circumstances related to covid-19, as defined by the latest guidance from the Department for Education, does not count as an absence (authorised or unauthorised) for statistical purposes.
The coding will follow the latest advice from the Department for Education (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance)