Schools have a right to insist that their rules are followed. If parents or pupils refuse to follow the rules, this can result in isolation or exclusion. Here you will find information on common misconceptions about certain school rules.
Taking time off school
For a medical appointment: You will need to ask the school’s permission and provide evidence of the appointment, e.g. an appointment card or letter. In general you are asked to make medical appointments outside school time, or if this is impossible, to schedule them as early or as late as possible in the day to keep your child’s time away from school to a minimum.
For a family holiday: You must ask the school’s permission first, giving as much notice as possible. Schools can allow up to 10 days’ absence in a school year. However, this is entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion and parents do not have an automatic right to take their children out of school. Schools may refuse permission for absence at certain times of the year (e.g. exam times) or when the pupil has a poor attendance record.
If a child is taken out of school without the school’s permission, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Persistent unauthorised absence can result in prosecution.
Personal appearance - school uniform, hairstyles and body piercing
It is not mandatory for primary school pupils to wear uniform, though schools strongly encourage it. Secondary schools set their own rules about whether uniform is required. The government has published guidance to schools on school uniform and related policies (2011).
Most schools will have their own rules about personal appearance, for example, what hairstyles and/or body piercing are permitted. Generally they will not allow extreme hairstyles (e.g. shaved heads or bright colours). They may isolate pupils who break these rules.
Check directly with the school before your child gets an extreme hairstyle.
Lateness for school
The school sets the time of day when they close the register – often 30 minutes after the start of school. If a pupil arrives after this time, it is recorded as an unauthorised absence. Contact the school in the first instance if you are concerned about this.
If a child is frequently late, the parents may be failing to ensure that their child is receiving full time education, and could be prosecuted by the Local Authority.