What the law says about attendance:
As a parent, you’re legally responsible for making sure your child attends school regularly unless you’re home-educating.
Missing school causes severe disruption to a child’s education, and affects their performance in exams and chances later in life. The law is tough if it’s decided that you allowed your child to miss school (or ‘truant’) regularly. If you are stuggling to get your child to school this is best tackled together by parents and school staff. If you suspect your child has not gone to school, contact the school straight away and ask for help.
Tips to parents on how to help prevent truancy:
talk to your child about how important it is to attend school
ask regularly about how school is going
if your child frequently resists going to school contact their class teacher.
find out if your child wants to avoid school for a reason that they’re frightened to tell you about.
A parenting contract is a formal, signed agreement between a parent and the school’s governing body. It’s designed to tackle the causes of an individual child missing school.
Under the contract, the parent agrees to make sure their child attends school regularly over a specific period – and the LA/governing body agrees to provide specific support, eg help with transporting the child to school.
You can’t be forced to enter into a parenting contract. But if you’re offered one and refuse, it can be used as evidence against you if you’re prosecuted.
Family holidays must be taken during the school holidays. It’s especially disruptive for your child to miss school days at the start of the school year, when new routines are being set up.
If for some unavoidable reason you want to take your child on holiday in term time, you must send a letter asking permission from the headteacher. Pratts Bottom Primary will not give permission for term time holidays in any school year unless there’s a very specific reason.
If you take your child on holiday without the headteacher’s permission, your child will be taking unauthorised absence and you will be reported to the education welfare officer who will take legal action.
Penalty notices and prosecution:
Headteachers, education welfare officers (also known as education social workers), whose job is to make sure that children attend school together with the police may decide to issue you penalty notices (fine) of £60 to £120 if your child regularly misses school and you have not taken action or asked for help. If you don’t pay a penalty notice you may be prosecuted.
Prosecution can result in a fine of up to £2,500, a jail sentence of up to three months or a community sentence.
Any absence must be reported otherwise it goes down as an unauthorised absence/truancy, which is reported annually and published for each school.
If your child has a dental or medical appointment, the school should be notified in advance in writing, although it is preferable that these be arranged out of school hours. The school should be notified of any absence due to sickness or emergency appointments on the morning of the first absence. Telephone messages are acceptable. We have a first day call policy and if we have not heard about an absence by 10.00 am, the school office will ring to check.
For more information on attendance please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/school_attendance/