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Guidance to help improve school attendance

Attendance toolkit

Attendance letter templates (Word)

Attendance guidance and templates

Absence due to religious observance

Schools should treat a pupil’s absence as authorised if it is on a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parent belongs. As set out in regulation 6(2)(b)(ii) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006.

The DfE does not define which specific days schools should authorise for religious observance. As a general rule, we would interpret a ‘day exclusively set apart for religious observance’ as a day when the pupil’s parents would be expected by the religious body to which they belong to stay away from their employment in order to mark the occasion. We advise schools to seek advice from the relevant religious body if they are in doubt.

The DfE would not consider attending religious festivals to be a religious observance day and as such, parents are not entitled to take their children out of school for such festivals. Religious festivals would be an occasion which religious bodies mark without expecting families to take time off work or school.

Parents may apply to the school for a leave of absence that is linked to a religious day. However, unlike days that the religious body have set aside to be spent exclusively in religious observance, parents have no entitlement to leave linked to religious days.

Head teachers may grant requests for leave of absence if there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the leave but are not obliged to do so. Authorisation of such leave is completely at the head teacher’s discretion.

More information about religious festivals on this website.

Privacy notice for school attendance, children missing education and child employment service

Attendance and benchmark data analysis

Your school's attendance benchmarks and analysis report are available on your school's page on the Ealing Grid for Learning (EGfL user account with reports access required).

2006 pupil registration regulations (GOV.UK)

School attendance: guidance for schools (GOV.UK)

School inspection handbook - Ofsted (GOV.UK)

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Last updated: 27 Feb 2024

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