School attendance: legal requirements
Understand the rules on pupil absence, including your school's admission register and attendance register. We summarise the laws you need to know about, and look at parent penalties and term-time holidays.
Admission and attendance registers
All schools are required by law to have:
- An admission register, and
- An attendance register
Note: schools where all pupils are boarders don't need an attendance register.
All pupils must be placed on both registers from the beginning of the pupil's first day of attendance, regardless of their age.
School proprietors who don't comply with these regulations are guilty of an offence and can be fined.
This is set out in the Department for Education's (DfE's) school attendance: main guidance.
Information required in the admission register
Your school’s admission register must contain:
- The personal details of all pupils in the school
- Pupils’ dates of admission or readmission
- Details of parents and carers
- Details of the last school the pupil attended
It must also be updated when a pupil moves to a new address or a new school. See page 6 of the guidance linked above.