School absence

Unauthorised absence

Sometimes children can be reluctant to attend school. Talk to your child’s school if this happens. They can offer practical ideas and will work with you and your child to improve attendance.  You can contact the school to check your child is attending, but the school will let you know if your child is not there when they should be.

Absence through illness

Tell the school when your child is too unwell to attend. You will also be required to provide a note explaining the absence when your child returns.

Absence for medical appointments

Tell the school of any doctor’s or dentist’s appointments so they know what time to expect your child. This avoids an unauthorised absence being registered.


Your child should make sure they are at school on time, ready for the register to be called. If your child is late for no valid reason this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

What we do

We will try to work with the family if a child is not going to school, but if this does not work we can issue parents with a penalty for failing to ensure their child attends school.

The penalty notice is £60 but if not paid within 21 days rises to £120. When penalty notices remain unpaid we can prosecute. Hearings take place in the magistrates’ court and may result in a fine of up to £1,000.

Children Missing from Education (CME) referral form

Please use the form on the Somerset County Council website for CME referrals.