School attendance

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Guidance on your child's attendance at school

Attending school every day is crucial for learning, social skills and personal responsibility.

Why attendance at school and punctuality is important

  • 98% attendance means that your child has missed 4 days in the school year
  • 95% attendance means that your child has missed 10 days in the school year
  • 90% attendance means that your child has missed 19 days in the school year
  • 80% attendance means that your child has missed 38 days in the school year
  • 5 minutes late each day means three whole days lost each year
  • 17 days missed from school each year equates to a whole GCSE grade
  • Attendance affects learning, future earning, wellbeing and a sense of belonging

Who can contact the Education Welfare Officer for support and advice about attendance

  • a child or young person
  • schools
  • parents*
  • partner agencies, e.g. Police and School Health
  • general public

*Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that: "The definition of a parent means all natural parents, whether they are married or not; and includes any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility and/or care for a child or young person."

What we do for parents

We will:

  • help parents to understand their rights and legal responsibilities.
  • work with parents to improve their child’s attendance and punctuality.
  • assist parents with problems concerning attendance.
  • support and develop links between school and home.
  • provide a link to other education services and agencies.
  • signpost to support after assessing what is needed
  • support as part of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

What the law says about school attendance

The law requires all children between the ages of 5 and 16 to be in full time education.

Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 it is the duty of the parent/carer of a child of compulsory school age to ensure that they attend school regularly.

  • Education Supervision Order Children’s Act 1989: The local authority can apply to the courts where attendance remains poor. A named education supervisor would be appointed to work with the family for up to 12 months to ensure that the young person receives full time education.
  • School Attendance Order Education Act 1996: If this is issued; parents would be directed to register their child at a school named by the local authority.
  • Penalty Notice: A warning letter can be issued when a pupil has had 10 or more unauthorised absences from school. The warning letter gives parents a period of 15 school days of monitoring. If at the end of this period there has not been an improvement or an improvement has been made but not sustained, a Penalty Notice will be issued. Each parent/carer would have to pay £60.00 per child. If this is not paid within 21 days, the payment increases to £120.00 per child per parent. Payments will not be accepted after 28 days. If parents do not pay the Local Authority will prosecute in the Magistrates’ Court. If convicted the parent will have a criminal record and may receive a fine of up to £1000.
  • The Department for Education have a range of information available regarding attendance.

Contact us

Tel: 01270 375 281

The Education Welfare Service
Floor 2
Delamere House
c/o Municipal Buildings
Earle Street

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