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Reduced timetables

DfE Guidance is clear that all pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education. In very exceptional circumstances and where it is in a pupil’s best interests, 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 not be used to manage a pupil’s behaviour” Working together to improve school attendance, DfE, September 2022 .


A reduced timetable must not be treated as a long-term solution and must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative provision. There should be formal arrangements in place for regularly reviewing it with the pupil and their parents.


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. This is a safeguarding matter as every child is legally entitled to a full-time education and the law requires that children are kept safe in school. The Local Authority (LA) needs to be assured that schools are not placing children on reduced or re-integration timetables for longer than is necessary. 


Schools must notify the Attendance Service of any reduced timetables at the point they are agreed. Schools must scan a signed copy of the plan and send to the Attendance Team via email to If the child is looked after or previously looked after, the information should also be copied to the Virtual School: Please do not send originals. It is important that schools retain the original signed copy for their own records.


Further guidance has been devised for schools and other education settings regarding the use of reduced timetables. The guidance sets out Norfolk County Council’s position on the use of reduced timetables and provides a framework for school practice and other professionals working with schools.


Any professional who is made aware of the use of a reduced timetable should check that the school has notified the Attendance Team. If a professional believes that the Team has not been notified of the reduced timetable and/or they are concerned about the plan in place, they should contact the Attendance Team on 01603 223681 or email

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