School attendance

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

The Council works closely with schools, parents / carers, children, and partner agencies to tackle persistent absence from schools. Pupils are currently classified as ‘persistent absentees’ if they miss 10% or more of school sessions.

If you have a concern in relation to securing your child’s regular attendance at school, we would encourage you to approach your child’s school in the first instance. School staff are best placed to offer advice and any support that may be required.

Parents / carers are responsible in law for ensuring that their children registered pupils at a school, attend regularly.

The Council has a range of legal powers to address unauthorised absence from school:

  • Penalty Notices (Section 444A Education Act 1996)
  • Prosecution of Parents / 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)

A minimum evidential requirement of ten (10) school sessions lost to unauthorised absence by any pupil in the current term, and/or fourteen (14) sessions lost to unauthorised absence over two consecutive terms, is required to trigger the penalty notice process.