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Creating a reduced timetable to support a child

The School Admissions Code (published by the DfE in December 2014) (issued under Section 84 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998) states that a child is entitled to a full-time place in the September following their 4th birthday.

In very exceptional circumstances there may be a need for a temporary reduced timetable to meet a pupil’s individual needs. For example, where a medical condition prevents a pupil from attending full-time education and a reduced timetable is considered as part of a re-integration package.

A reduced timetable should only be used as a short-term measure. Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with an alternative provision. In agreeing to a reduced timetable a school has agreed to a pupil being absent from school for part of the week or day and therefore must record it as an authorised absence.


Section 157 and 175 of the Education Act 2007 places a duty on local authorities and schools to exercise their functions to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Schools must have regard and consideration for the safeguarding issues and the impact this might have on a child when considering a reduced timetable.

If there are safeguarding concerns, advice should be taken from the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Current guidance from Ofsted states that information about children missing from education is essential and all schools should notify the local authority of any reduced education arrangements. This includes schools maintained by the local authorities, academies, free schools and independent schools.

Last updated 13 February 2024