Parents and carers have a legal duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education. It is also vital that they encourage their child's regular and punctual attendance at school. If a child is registered at a school then it is vital that they attend on a regular basis.
It is important that everyone works together to help children obtain the best possible start in life with a good education. Parents and carers should work in partnership with the school, notifying them of the reason for any absences and highlighting any areas of concern so they can be addressed promptly.
These absences will be authorised by the school following contact with parents or carers. Most schools ask parents to telephone on the first day of absence and then to provide a note when the child returns to school.
Schools may authorise other absences if they consider them to be unavoidable. If possible, parents should always consult with the school in advance if their child is going to be unavoidably absent.
Only schools can authorise absence. Parents do not have this legal authority. Absences not accepted by the school will be ‘unauthorised’. If sufficient unauthorised absence accumulates the school will take steps, such as inviting parents to a meeting to improve attendance.
Truancy is a form of unauthorised absence where a child deliberately misses school. Parents, however, remain legally responsible for this absence.
If you fail to secure your child's regular attendance, you could be prosecuted under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.