If your child is of school age, it is your legal duty to ensure they receive a full-time education.
You are responsible for ensuring they:
- are registered at a school;
- attend regularly and punctually.
Or you must make other arrangements to provide your child with a suitable education.
If your child does not attend school regularly, they may not be able to keep up with school work.
If your child is absent for just one day every week, they will miss out on two years of education over their school life.
It is important your child arrives at school in good time. Arrival at school after the registration period is treated as an absence for legal purposes.
How to help your child:
- Make sure your child goes to school regularly, arrives on time and keeps to the school rules. Start good habits at an early age while your child is at primary school.
- If your child shows reluctance to attend school, contact the school immediately and work with them to sort things out.
- If your child is ill, contact the school on the first day of absence. Staff will be concerned if they don't hear from you.
- If your child is ever off school, tell the school why. Make sure you follow the arrangements made by the school.
- If you want your child to miss school, for example for a religious festival or some other special occasion, seek the school's agreement well in advance and give full details.
- Don't expect the school to agree to absences for such reasons as birthdays, visiting or looking after relatives and shopping trips during school hours - even if it's for a school uniform.
- Take interest in your child's school work.
- Support school staff in their efforts to control difficult or challenging behaviour.
- Don’t take family holidays during school term time.
What may happen if your child does not attend regularly?
Parents can be subject to legal proceedings in the Magistrates Court.
For each child who fails to attend school regularly, each parent could be:
- fined up to £2,500
- sentenced to up to three months imprisonment.
The Local Authority has the option of applying for an Education Supervision Order in respect of your child.
Magistrates can grant a Parenting Order. This requires you to attend guidance or counselling sessions, or escort your child to school for up to 12 months.
Fixed penalty notices can be issued to parents when absence has not been authorised by the head teacher.
The Education Welfare Service is part of the Children’s Services within Lincolnshire County Council. Its main role is to promote and enforce regular school attendance. This is offered through advice and support to schools.
If there are problems with your child's school attendance, it's important you co-operate with the school. If not, legal action may become necessary.
*Throughout this entire section and in all related information the term ‘Local Authority’ in respect of educational matters refers to the ‘Local Education Authority'.