Working together to improve school attendance

Being in school and having the best attendance possible underpins all the many benefits of school for your child, such as their learning, wellbeing and wider development. For some children, attending school every day will be harder than for others. This is why schools, and local councils in some cases, are committed to working together with families to solve problems and support your child’s school attendance. 

What are my responsibilities for my child’s attendance?

As a parent, you are legally responsible for making sure your child gets a suitable fulltime education, usually from the age of 5 to 16. For most parents, this will mean making sure your child is in school every day except when:
- Your child is too ill to go to school.
- You have permission for a leave of absence from your child’s school for them not to attend. You should only ask for this in exceptional circumstances.
- Your religious body has a day especially for religious observance.

There are also some other circumstances for example where:
- Your local council is responsible for arranging your child’s transport to school and it is not available on that day or has not been provided yet.
- Your child attends an independent school that is beyond walking distance from home and your local council has not arranged for your child to board at or near the school or attend another school closer to home.
- Your child does not have a permanent address and you are required to travel for work. (This exception only applies if your child attends their usual school or another school where you are staying as often as possible. This must be 200 half days or more a year if they are aged 6 or older.)

The meaning of ‘parent’ in relation to a child includes any person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility for the child or who has care of the child, as set out in section 576 of the Education Act 1996.

Whilst some absence is unavoidable, it is important that your child is in school every day they can be for their learning, wellbeing and development.


Attendance Policy - July 2023