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When children can and can't miss school

When children can and can't miss school and what happens if you take your child out of school for a holiday

Your responsibilities

As a parent or carer you need to make sure that your child gets a full-time education. They need to be educated from the age of 5 until the end of June in the school year they become 16 years old.

Your child's education needs to suit their age and ability and meet any special needs they have. You can send your child to school or teach them at home.

When your child can miss school

Your child can only miss school if:

  • they're too ill to go
  • they're traveling to or from a medical appointment with the GP, hospital or the dentist
  • they're traveling to or from a work experience placement
  • you asked the school for permission, in advance

Read our advice on managing sickness in school children for GPs, schools, parents and carers (PDF 1.45MB).

If you take your child out of school for a holiday without permission you will need to pay a fine of £60 per parent.

Taking holidays during term-time

You can't take your child out of school during term time to go on a family holiday unless:

  • you, the parent the child normally lives with, get permission from the school before you go on holiday
  • there are exceptional circumstances, such as an illness or a funeral of a person close to the family, which you will need to prove to the school

If your child misses school often

You could be taken to court if your child misses more than 19 school days in a school year, which is the same as 10% of school sessions.

If found guilty you could get a £2,500 fine, plus legal costs, three months in prison or a criminal record.

More information

Email our Access to Education Team at attendanceteam@brighton-hove.gov.uk for help and information.

Go to the GOV.UK website for more information about taking children out of school and help with getting your child to go to school.