School attendance

Overview

Regular school attendance is central to raising standards in education and to improving the life chances of all children. It helps children to get the maximum benefit from the educational and social opportunities available to them.

We work closely with schools, parents, carers, children, and partner agencies to tackle persistent absence from schools. 

If a child misses 10% or more of school sessions, they are classed as persistent absentees.

If you have a concern about your child’s regular attendance at school, get in touch with the school. School staff are best placed to offer advice and support. 

Parents and carers are legally responsible for making sure their children are registered at a school, and attend regularly.

We have legal powers to tackle unauthorised absences from school:

  • Penalty Notices (Section 444A Education Act 1996)
  • Prosecution of Parents and Carers in Magistrates’ Court (Section 444 (1) / Section 444(1A) Education Act 1996)
  • Application to the Family Court for an Education Supervision Order in respect of the child (Children Act 1989)
  • Parenting Order (Section 8 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998)

The penalty notice process is triggered if a child:

  • loses a minimum of 10 school sessions to unauthorised absence, in the current school term, and/or
  • loses 14 school sessions to unauthorised absence over two consecutive terms