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 9 March 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 1666
  1. When can we use reduced timetables for pupils?
  2. Make reasonable adjustments first
  3. Consider your safeguarding responsibilities
  4. Next steps for a child moved to a reduced timetable
  5. Review the child’s provision regularly
  6. Return your pupil to full-time provision as soon as you can
  7. Find an example of effective practice from the DfE

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 in the pupil's best interests
  • 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 and page 11 of the mental health issues affecting attendance guidance.

What counts as exceptional circumstances?

It’s up to the headteacher to decide what counts as exceptional circumstances.

A family bereavement prevents a pupil from attending full-time education A medical condition like anxiety has become a barrier