Research shows that children who attend school regularly are likely to be more successful. A pupil who misses a day of school a week misses an equivalent of two whole years of their school life. This obviously leads to gaps in their knowledge that become difficult to fill. A recent survey has indicated that more than 70% of children who did not attend school regularly admitted to committing at least one criminal offence.
We are trying to improve overall school attendance by working with parents, carers, pupils, local communities and businesses to raise awareness.
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What are unacceptable reasons for absence from school?
- Birthday treats and trips
- Looking after others at home
- Non-urgent medical or dental appointments.
What is the expected attendance level of pupils at school?
The Department for Education (DfE) expects all students to achieve an attendance level of at least 95% in every school year and individual schools generally expect a much higher level.
What is an authorised absence?
If your child is ill or unable to attend school for some reason, you need to contact the school by telephone and/or letter on the first day of absence to inform them. The school may then authorise this absence.
What happens if absence is not authorised?
If your child has been away from school for three days (in some schools even fewer days) and there has been no contact with school, they will send you a letter, or make another form of contact, to check why your child or children are not in school.
Such a letter could draw your attention to the fact that your child has been missing school without a reason. Such absence will be "unauthorised" absence from school. Unauthorised absence from school carries with it the risk of intervention by the Education Welfare Service. This can mean criminal prosecution for non-school attendance.
All Councils have an Education Welfare Service and, in Derby, an Education Welfare Officer (EWO) works with schools in a particular area. They will identify any causes for concern where their specialist help may be needed and will often visit the home and talk with parents and the child/children about any problems. By working together, the child is able to return to school. However, if there is no genuine reason for absence, the EWO has the power to prosecute the parents for not sending their children to school regularly.