Regular school attendance is an important part of giving your child the best possible start in life.
Reducing unauthorised absence from school is a key priority nationally and locally because missing school:
- Damages a pupils attainment levels
- Disrupts school routines
- Impacts on the learning of others
Truanting can also leave a pupil vulnerable to Anti-Social Behaviour, Child Sexual Exploitation and youth crime.
When can I keep my child away from school?
The school can only authorise an absence in the following circumstances:
- Illness – it is always a good idea to provide medical evidence, i.e. label from prescribed medication, appointment cards and or letters
- Religious observance – discretionary up to 3 days per academic year
Unacceptable reasons for absence are:
- Birthday celebrations
- Looking after younger siblings
- Mild discomforts (hay fever, headaches, mild coughs & colds)
What about term time leave?
The current law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child on leave during term time. Any application for leave must be in exceptional circumstances and the head teacher must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave. Parents can be fined for taking their child on leave during term time without consent from the school.
Education Welfare Officers work within a statutory capacity to ensure that parents provide their children with reasonable education attendance. We work with parents whose children’s attendance is below 91%. We also complete home visits to children who have missed education for a consecutive period of five days, to establish the reason for absence.
The Education Welfare Service works within strict policies and procedures which are determined by the Government. Following a referral, a family will have an allocated EWO (education welfare officer) who will work in partnership with the family to achieve positive outcomes. This could include:
- Signposting to appropriate support services
- Liaison/mediation with schools
- Partnership working with the police and other professionals
- Early Help Assessment
If attendance fails to improve, under existing legislation parents/carers will be seen as committing an offence as the child has not attended school regularly. This can also include term time leave where the absences are classed as unauthorised, depending on the circumstances. Such cases may result in prosecution or a Penalty Notice. The penalty is currently £60 per parent, per child if paid within 21 days, and will increase to £120 per parent, per child if not paid within 28 days. Failure to pay the penalty notice may result in prosecution at Magistrates Court.
Who to contact
- Education Welfare Duty Officer - 8.30am to 4.30pm
- 0208 583 2622
The role of this directory is to provide information. It is your personal responsibility to make sure that organisations are appropriate and safe for you, your child or young person before they attend. Please read our guide to staying safe - things to consider