Does my child have to go to school every day?
Yes, your child must go to school every day. You can be referred to the Educational Welfare Service and even prosecuted if your child is away from school without a good reason.
Why do they need to go every day?
Going to school every day really is the key to getting the best out of school because:
- it sets up good habits for school and future life right from day one
- learning to read, write and do maths takes a lot of practice and is easier to master if your child goes to school regularly
- each day is a chance to learn something new
- school offers your child regular, dedicated help to master the many skills they need
- it teaches your child life skills like commitment, being reliable, having a good work ethic and sticking with things when they get hard.
What if my child needs to be away from school?
Your child should go to school every day. But sometimes they might need to be away from school because they are too sick to attend.
Absence for illness/medical appointments must be confirmed by telephone, studybugs, letter or in person from an adult, in order for it to be authorised. Please let us know on the first day of absence.
We always follow up unexplained absence, by telephoning parents on the first day and sending a letter if we are unable to contact you. Good attendance and good achievement are logically linked.
If your child is going to be away for several days, talk to their teacher about getting some work to do while they are away, so that they don’t fall behind in class.
Can I take my child out of school during term time to go on holiday?
Holiday requests will not be authorised during term time. Time taken off for holidays during term time will appear as unauthorised on your child’s records.
Please refer to the Government guidelines below relating to holidays/leave of absence. Requests for leave of absence must be made by emailing the school. Please do this before the planned absence. Please also refer to our attached document below.
Leave of absence during Term Time
You are required under the Education Act (1996) to ensure your child attends school regularly. There is however, a discretionary power to allow leave of absence in exceptional circumstances during term time. This is not an entitlement and purely at the discretion of the schools head teacher. Schools should not authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a student’s education or if the absences are during school exam periods and SAT’s.
Before completing this application we would advise that you consider very seriously how the absences will affect your child’s education. National statistics show 10 days absence in any academic year does have a negative effect on attainment. Schools are not obliged to provide work for students taking leave of absence; however some schools may choose to do this.
The government advises that any refusal of leave of absence must be recorded as unauthorised by the school on the student’s records. As you may be aware unauthorised absences may result in legal proceedings against you either through a Fixed Penalty Notice or the Magistrates’ Court.
Discuss with the school any request for leave of absence prior to making a booking. Your child’s school may have a designated person for this. It is the parent/carers responsibility to ensure you receive confirmation from the school before the leave is taken. Do not assume permission Is granted if you have not received written confirmation.
If the head teacher does not approve an application for a leave of absence an appeal can be made through the Governing Body. This cannot be made retrospectively.
Fixed Penalty Notices
With the implementation of the Anti Social Behaviour Act (2003) the Local Authority has statutory powers to use Penalty Notices to help tackle irregular school attendance and unauthorised absences. An unauthorised absence is any absence that the school has not given permission for or the parent/carer has been unable to provide a reason for the absence, which is acceptable to the school.
The school will discuss with the Local Authority any cases of unauthorised absence and whether the issuing of a Penalty Notice would be appropriate. A Penalty Notice is an alternative to a prosecution to the offence and can be issued when it is felt that parents/carers are failing in their legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly.
The penalty is in the form of a £60 fine per parent/carer per child payable within 21 days, this increases to £120 payable per parent/carer per child within 28 days. Failure to pay usually results in prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court.
- (Academic year =school year from September to July)
What can I do to make sure my child is going to school?
The key here is to make school the priority. There are things you can do at home, and things you can work side by side with the school on.
- talk to your children about why it is important to go to school every day – ask them what they want to be in the future. Their education is the key to doing well in life
- be positive about school
- set good habits about going to school from day one
- prepare your children the night before school - make sure they have done their homework
- have a good morning routine that gets them to school on time, relaxed and with everything they need
- don't let them have the day off just because they would rather be at home
- keep absences due to sickness to times when your child is actually sick - don't keep them at home when you know that they are just nervous about school – talk to the school who can help your child overcome this
- know about your child's school life - ask questions, listen to your child. This will make it easier to pick up on any issues they might be having
- keep family holidays outside of term-time, as every day at school is an opportunity to build skills, and repetition is critical for learning – especially for primary school children
- don’t overload them – school may be exhausting for your child so make sure they have some downtime after school to relax and have a break.
Working with the school
- build a strong relationship with us to improve communication – then it’s easier to talk to us if a problem arises
- get involved with us - volunteer for parent help, go on school trips, help out on the PTA. It helps you to get to know your child’s teacher and the school, and it shows your child that you prioritise their schooling
- learn our process for letting us know about absences, and contact us as soon as you know your child is not going to be at school that day
- talk to the class teacher if your child is reluctant to go to school, and work together to problem solve.
What can I do if my child refuses to go to school?
This can be really upsetting. Talk to your child about why they don’t want to go. Be supportive. There may be a reason, like:
- not getting on with some of the other children
- feeling too much pressure in their learning
- a health issue, like wetting their pants
Talk to your child’s teacher straight away. Whatever the reason, you won’t be the first parent to talk to us about that type of situation. We will have some good advice, and we’ll be able to work together to help your child.