Reduced timetables for pupils

Get to grips with reduced timetables (also known as part-time timetables). Find out when you can use them and what you need to consider before, during and after you've introduced them.

Last reviewed on 3 August 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 1666
  1. When can we use reduced timetables for pupils?
  2. Consider your pupils’ needs
  3. Next steps for a child moved to a reduced timetable
  4. Review the child’s provision regularly
  5. Return your pupil to full-time provision as soon as you can

When can we use reduced timetables for pupils?

There must be exceptional circumstances

Because pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education, reduced or part-time timetables are only allowed in exceptional circumstances, where:

  • There's a specific need for a pupil – for example, a medical condition prevents them from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is part of a planned re-integration
  • It's on a temporary basis, stating when they're expected to return to school full time. It must not be a long-term solution

The DfE sets this out on page 18 of its attendance guidance

Headteachers must decide what these exceptional circumstances are

The headteacher has to justify:

  • Why the pupil isn't able to receive full-time education
  • That this decision is in the best interests of the child

The DfE told us this. 

A reduced timetable isn’t:  A suspension (fixed-term exclusion), so you must record it as an