School attendance

Attending school

You must make sure that your child gets a full-time education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year that they turn 16.

You can send your child to school or educate them yourself. If you do this we need to make sure that they receive suitable tuition.

If your child does not receive the education they need we will offer help, but you can be prosecuted if you don’t meet your legal obligations.

You’ll be contacted by either:

  • the school - if your child doesn’t turn up for school, even if they’re only absent for a day
  • the council’s education welfare officer - if they think your child isn’t getting a suitable education at home

School Attendance Officers

Schools can refer children who don’t attend regularly to a School Attendance Officer. Other agencies, such as health, social care and the police may also refer children.

When a child is referred, a School Attendance Officer will arrange to meet the parents to offering support and advice which may help return the child to regular attendance.

They work with other agencies which may also be able to help – such as Social Care or Health.

The officer will usually give the parents up to 12 weeks to improve their child’s attendance. If this is not achieved the School Attendance Officer will issue the parents with a summons to appear in court.

School Attendance Officers will keep in regular contact with parents and will keep written records of what has been discussed and agreed. They will expect parents to agree targets for improvement and will review progress. They will also keep in close contact with the child’s school.

If you would like to speak with a School Attendance Officer please contact 0300 300 6291.

Home schooling

Find out about elective home education (home schooling)