School attendance: guidance – Parents not to be penalised if their children do not attend school

School attendance: guidance for schools


School attendance


For schools, please read temporary additional guidance about how you should record attendance during the coronavirus outbreak.

This guidance is applicable to 30 June 2020 and will be reviewed before 1 July 2020.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, we have disapplied certain statutory provisions, so that the parent of a child of compulsory school age is not guilty of an offence on account of the child’s failure to attend regularly at the school at which the child is registered (section 444 of the Education Act 1996). This means that parents will not be penalised if their child does not attend school.

We have also modified the meaning of ‘pupil’ (section 3 of the Education Act 1996) in the context of pupil registration (section 434 of the Education Act 1996). This means that children temporarily attending another school because of coronavirus (COVID-19), should not be registered as pupils. They should return to their own school once it reopens.

Children who attend a school on a temporary basis because of coronavirus will still be pupils for all purposes other than registration. For example, they will still be pupils for the purposes of the school’s SEN, safeguarding and school medical duties. The school will be able to apply its normal behaviour policy to such children and – as is the case with its registered pupils – it cannot charge these children for their education.

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