Absence due to religious observance

Schools in the City of Westminster acknowledge and welcome the multi-faith nature of our community and recognise that some families’ important religious festivals may fall outside school holidays.

Government guidance says a pupil can be absent ‘on a day exclusively set aside for religious observance by the religious body to which the parent belongs’.

But, attending school regularly and on time is also important and is a parent’s legal responsibility.

If a child misses 5 days each term over all the years he or she is at school, this is equivalent to missing one whole school year.

Good attendance leads to better grades in examinations and better chances of getting a job when leaving school.

Being away from school can mean social relationships are disrupted.

How you can help

  • when your child joins a school, talk to school staff about your family’s beliefs
  • think carefully whether your child really needs to miss school for religious reasons
  • ask the school staff as early as possible for the day you would like your child to have off
  • talk to your child’s teacher or teachers about what work your child may have missed and ask them to help your child catch up

So, to try and make sure your children have the best possible chance of achieving their potential by being in school as much as possible, no more than 1 day in any term will be authorised for any individual occasion of religious observance and no more than 3 days in any academic year.

If you have any queries, please discuss them with school staff.

Download the leaflet; Absence due to religious observance (PDF, 62KB)

Last updated: 16 August 2018