Why Attendance at School is so Important

If a child of compulsory school age is registered at a school it is essential that they attend their school regularly and maintain a pattern of good attendance throughout their school career.

Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child or young person to fulfil their potential.

Below are just some of the key reasons why it is so important children attend school:

> To learn. To have fun.
> To make new friends.
> To experience new things in life.
> To develop awareness of other cultures, religion, ethnicity and gender differences.
> To achieve. To gain qualifications.
> To develop new skills. To build confidence and self-esteem.
> To have the best possible start in life

Young people who regularly miss school without good reason are more likely to become isolated from their friends, to underachieve in examinations and/or become involved in antisocial behavior.

School Attendance and the Law

What does the law say about school attendance?

All parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special needs.

Children must legally be in education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16. The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. Raising the participation age means that your child will have to stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year when they turn 18.

School attendance order

Should you fail to register your child at a school and not make suitable alternative education arrangements, the council may issue a School Attendance Order requiring you to register your child at a named school.

Non-attendance at school

Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school is a criminal offence and if, with support from the school/academy your child’s attendance fails to improve, the council will consider one of two courses of action:

1) Penalty fine of £60 (if paid within 21 days), rising to £120 (if paid after 21 days but before 28 days have elapsed). Failing to pay the fine will result in prosecution and being summoned to appear at the Magistrates Court.

2) Start a criminal investigation which could lead to you being prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court.

A Penalty Notice can be issued if:

>  a child has poor attendance (five sessions (half days) or more of unauthorised absence in the last six weeks)
> 10 sessions/5 days or more of absence due to an unauthorised leave of absence during term time
>  a child who has been excluded from school is seen in a public place in the first five days of an exclusion.

It is the responsibility of each parent to ensure regular school attendance and failure to do so will result in each parent being charged with the offence. If convicted, both parents will be punished by the courts, resulting in a fine of up to £2,500 for each parent and / or up to three months custodial sentence.

How Parents Can Help

> Establish a good routine in the mornings and evenings so your child is prepared for the school day ahead.
> Make sure your child goes to school regularly and follows the school rules.
> Ensure your child arrives at school on time – not late.
> Arrange dental and medical appointments outside school hours when possible.
> Always inform the school if your child is absent due to illness – this should be followed up with a written note when your child returns to school.
> Take truancy seriously – if your child is not attending school as you expect they may be putting themselves at risk – Who are they with? What are they doing?
> Take family holidays outside term time.
> Talk to your child about school and take an interest in their school work (including homework).
> Attend parent evenings and school events.
> Praise and reward your child’s effort and achievements at school.
> Always support school staff in their efforts to control difficult or challenging behaviour.
> Discuss any problems or difficulties with the school – staff are there to help and will be supportive.

Do not be afraid to ask for help if a problem arises.

Every School Day Counts

Every single day a child is absent from school equates to a day of lost learning. Attendance percentages can be misleading.

For some parents, 90% may seem like an acceptable level of attendance, but the reality is that 90% attendance means that your child will miss half a school day each week or 19 days of school during the school year – that’s nearly 4 school weeks.

Give your child the best start in life – every school day counts.

Attendance Line – 01889 571685

When contacting the school, please provide the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your child’s name
  3. The reason for absence

If we have not received a message from you by 10.00am and your child fails to attend you will receive a text message asking you to contact the school.