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Cardiff Council

Your legal responsibility

​By law, all children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens - either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly. If they do not attend, you will be contacted by your child's school or the local authority.


Local authorities have a duty to step in if they believe a child is not getting the education required by law, either at home or at school. If your child is missing school, you may be visited by a member of the Education Welfare Service who will talk to you about your child's attendance problems.



  • As a parent you have a legal responsibility to make sure your child receives a full-time education between the ages of five and sixteen.
  • If you don't send your child to school regularly, you could face a fine of up to £2500 or even be sent to prison.

There will be times when your child cannot go to school, this is known as an ‘Authorised Absence', and the school must be told in advance. Your school can only authorise an absence if: 


  • Your child is too ill to attend school
  • They have a dental or medical appointment
  • There is a bereavement of a relative
  • There is a need for religious observance

The City of Cardiff Council has now asked head teachers not to authorise requests for a holiday in term-time. There is no right that enables parents and carers to take a child out of school for a term-time holiday. 


*Please note in relation to taking a holiday in term time, Head teachers retain discretion to authorise holidays and are able to assess individual and exceptional circumstances.


To put this in context, schools are open to pupils on 190 days of the year which leaves 175 days for holidays and visiting family.


It is unacceptable to take your child out of school for any of the following reasons:


  • To look after brothers or sisters
  • Shopping trips
  • Days off for birthdays
  • To visit relatives
  • Sleeping in
  • Arriving late for school
  • Minding the house
  • To go on day trips or holidays

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