School attendance

Regular school attendance is an important part of giving your child the best possible start in life. Talking to your child and their teachers could help to solve any difficulties you have in getting your child to go to school - and there are other forms of support available if you still have problems.

Why regular school attendance is so important

Going to school regularly is important to your child’s future. For example, children who miss school frequently can fall behind with their work and do less well in exams.

Good attendance shows potential employers that your child is reliable. Research suggests that children who attend school regularly could also be at less risk of getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.

The law

By law, all children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. For most parents, this means registering their child at a school - though some choose to make other arrangements to provide a suitable, full-time education.

Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly. If your child fails to do so, you risk getting a fixed penalty notice or being prosecuted.

The role of the local authority

The Education Welfare Service works with schools, parents, carers and pupils to:

  • assess the circumstances which have led to irregular school attendance
  • implement a plan of action to support the child or young person and family to overcoming any difficulties
  • evaluate the outcome together with the child or young person, family and school, and reassess the situation
  • acknowledge and reward good practice and achievements
  • carry out truancy patrol in conjunction with Thames Valley Police and will initiate court action on behalf of the local authority should the non-attendance remain unresolved