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Children with Medical Needs

Bury Council is committed to providing a good education to all pupils regardless of circumstances or settings.  Where a pupil is unable to attend school for medical reasons the local authority will work alongside schools, health professionals, and parents to provide an alternative provision which will meet a pupil’s individual needs, including social and emotional needs, and enable them to thrive and prosper in the education system. 

Wherever possible the local authority would look at education provision being provided by school to ensure continuity for pupils. However, it is recognised that in some circumstances that is not possible and provision for such cases will be considered by a case management panel on an individual basis.

Actions to be taken

For schools: Please use the medical referral form (below) to notify the home tuition service of any children who are unable to attend school due to a medical condition. Please refer to the Section 19 protocol for criteria before completing your referral. For further information or advice and to forward relevant documentation please contact

School Attendance

The School Attendance & Exclusion Service believes that the interest and the welfare of the child are of primary importance. The School Attendance & Exclusion Service works within a statutory framework to support school age children and young people.  The service seeks to promote equal opportunities in education for all children.

Absence from School

The Importance of regular school attendance

Bury Council wants all children to have the best possible attendance at school to enable each and every child to reach their full potential.

There is a strong link between good school attendance and achieving good results for children. Children who frequently miss school may fall behind in their work which may affect their future prospects.

Good school attendance also shows future employers that a young person is reliable, more likely to achieve well and play a positive role in their community.

Young people who are frequently absent from school are more likely to become involved in, or be a victim of crime and anti-social behaviour.

In Bury we work closely with schools and families to support them to achieve the best possible outcomes for Bury children.

Your responsibilities as a parent

Parents and carers have a duty to ensure their child has a suitable education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Parental support is critical in ensuring that children achieve in education and support and guidance is always available at your child’s school.

All schools in Bury have their own School Attendance Policy which outlines procedures and is available on request.

What the Law Says

Parents have a legal responsibility for ensuring that children of compulsory school age receive a full-time education ‘suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special education needs that they may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’. Section 7 Education Act 1996.

Parents whose children are on a school register and fail to ensure the regular school attendance of their children, may be guilty of an offence under Section 444 or 444 (1A) of the Education Act 1996. The council may issue a Penalty Notice or take other statutory action through the courts to secure regular school attendance.

Legal Interventions

Penalty Notice

A penalty notice is used as an early intervention and is an alternative to prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act for irregular school attendance which is not authorised by the school.

The school may request a penalty notice and one will be issued by the council if the request meets the criteria in the Code of Conduct. There is no right of appeal against the issuing of a penalty notice.

Parents may discharge their potential liability for this absence period by paying the penalty notice. Failure to pay the penalty notice may result in prosecution in the magistrate’s court under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

Types of absence

Unauthorised absence

This is when children are absent from school without the authority of the head teacher. Below is a list of some of the reasons where absence from school may not be authorised;

  • Birthday treat
  • Day trip
  • Shopping or visit to hairdresser
  • Over-sleeping
  • Taking a long week-end
  • Taking the rest of the day off, before or after a dental or medical appointment
  • Family celebration

Authorised absence

There are very few reasons why absence may be authorised and in all cases you must inform your child’s school and explain the reasons why your child is absent.

If you need to take your child out of school during term time for exceptional circumstances, then you must contact your child’s school who will inform you of the procedure.

Only the head teacher can authorise absence and may request further evidence to support this.

Tips for good school attendance

  • Good habits start early in life, so even before your child starts school, establish good routines, such as reading before bedtime and going to bed on time
  • If your child is off school, you must let the school know why and tell them when they can expect your child back
  • Make all appointments for the doctor, dentist, optician etc after school hours or during the school holidays where possible
  • Take an active interest in your child’s school work and offer support with homework
  • Attend parent’s evenings to discuss your child’s progress
  • Make sure your child understands the benefits of regular attendance at school
  • Don’t let your child stay off school for a minor ailment
  • Take all holidays during the school holiday periods

Contact Us

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