Last reviewed on 22 March 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 1666

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.

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

This is explained in Department for Education (DfE) guidance on school attendance, see page 19.

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