What are the rules for taking children out of school?

As one father prepares for a High Court showdown over whether taking your children out of school is a criminal offence, here are the current rules:

  • When can your child miss school?

Your child can only miss school if they are too ill to go in or you have advance permission from the school.

If your child can't go to school for long periods of time due to a health problem different rules apply.

  • What will happen if they miss school?

You will be contacted by the school if your child does not turn up, even if they are only absent for one day.

  • What if I take my child out of school during term time for a holiday?

You must get permission from the school headteacher if you want to take your child on holiday during term time.

You can only do this if you make an application to the headteacher in advance or if there are exceptional circumstances.

It is up to the head teacher how many days your child can have off if leave is granted.

  • What if I don't get permission to take my child out of school?

You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school's permission.

Your local council can issue a £60 fine, which rises to £120 if you don't pay within 28 days.

If you still don't pay, you may be prosecuted and could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence of up to three months.

The court will also issue a Parenting Order which means you have to go to parenting classes and do what the school says to improve your child's attendance.