School Life

School Attendance

Good attendance at school is one of the most important factor in ensuring that children and young people have the best opportunities in life. Being in school gives children the best chance to learn, make friends and get the most from their education.

It can be difficult to know when to send your child into school if they are unwell and lots of families worry about the fines or consequences of their children not attending.

Did You Know?

One full school year at 90% attendance is the equivalent of 4 weeks of learning missed!

Over 5 years of school, this adds up to half a school year missed.

This is known as persistent absence.

Top Tips To Support Attendance

  • Get into good routines: start the year right and make attendance a priority.
  • Show an interest in school and education by going to parents meetings and other school events.
  • Talk about school at home: ask your child what they’re learning, how their friends are and how they’re getting on. Encourage them to tell you about the good and the bad!
  • Don’t let your child take time off school for minor illnesses: particularly those that would not stop you from going to work.
  • Take family holidays during school holiday time only. 

If you think or know that your child is having any difficulties, give the school a call to talk about how they can help you and your child.

Dive Deeper

Why Is School Attendance Important?

Research has shown that children with good attendance are more than twice as likely to pass their English and Maths GCSEs compared to those whose attendance is below 90%. However if your child’s attendance starts to slip the negative affect might increase because;

  • It is hard for children to catch up on work missed. This quickly affects their learning and leaves gaps in their understanding.
  • It gets in the way of building strong, positive friendships and makes them more at risk of spending time with bad influences.
  • It affects exam results and this means they have less choice about further education and careers.
  • They miss out on the structure and routines of school which are important practice for adult life.
  • They’re likely to be less active and not get into healthy habits important for physical and mental wellbeing.

School Attendance Rules

Parents have a legal responsibility to make sure their children are in education from the term after they are five until the end of the June in the year they turn 16.

All children should be either registered at a school or registered as being home schooled.

If your child is registered at a school:

  • It is expected that children always attend school and arrive on time.
  • Any absences need to be agreed as being unavoidable.
  • If absences are frequent school will talk to parents to understand how they can help.

If you are home schooling

  • Your child's education must be seen to be good enough to meet their needs.
  • The Services to Home Educators Team will contact you to talk about how you make sure your child is getting a good quality education.

Find out more about home education

When Can My Child Be Absent?

Your child may be absent from school if;

  • They are too unwell to attend. You must inform school on the first day of illness of reason for absence.
  • They have special permission from the head teacher of their school.

Speak to your child's school if you are unsure about when they can return after they have been unwell.

Is my child too ill for school?

Poor Attendance

Schools must update the Local Authority about children who are often absent from school. They must do this whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised by the headteacher. Schools have a responsibility to investigate unexplained absences to make sure children are safe.

  • If you are worried about how much time your child is missing from school for any reason talk to school as soon as possible.
  • If your child has frequent absences, school will offer support to you and to your child to help them attend school regularly.
  • If your child has longer term health problems stopping them from attending school, they will help your child access suitable education in other ways until they can get back to school.

School will work with you to help your child attend school. If it is felt you are not helping your child attend as much as possible, schools can begin a process to prosecute parents.

Who Can Help?

Your child’s school will be sensitive to their needs and are there to help all pupils. If you are worried give the school a call to talk about how they can help your child.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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