It is essential for pupils to attend school regularly in order to maximise the opportunities available to them. We investigate cases of irregular attendance, provide advice to schools on managing attendance and if necessary carry out legal enforcement measures.
The importance of early identification, assessment and intervention cannot be over emphasised.
There are two main areas that will cover why a child is not legitimately attending school (excluding sickness)
Term time absence - This may be an unauthorised holiday or other unexplained absence taking place in term-time.
Irregular attendance - This is, generally, a longer series of short absences where there has been an unsatisfactory explanation for the absence or no reason provided.
Support in reducing absence and lateness
The following steps can be taken to help reduce a child's absence without resorting to legal or financial enforcement measures.
Issuing a penalty notice
Penalty notices can be issued under the following circumstances as an alternative to Magistrates' Court proceedings. However we would expect schools to follow their attendance procedures in identifying the issues and putting support in place.
Penalty notices for non-school attendance - To issue a penalty notice, there should be 5 days (10 sessions) or more unauthorised absences in a 6 week period.
Penalty notices for term time absence - To issue a penalty notice, there should be 5 days (10 sessions) or more of consecutive unauthorised absence.
Before issuing a penalty notice, please ensure you have completed the penalty notice checklist:
Other attendance support
Attendance and enforcement policy (Word 116KB) - This enforcement policy aims to promote good practise and the principals for good enforcement, summarising how to conduct enforcement with openness, setting standards and consistency.
Infection control in schools (PDF 323KB) - National guidance on how long a child should be absent from school related to particular illnesses. Schools can use this to assist parents in ensuring the appropriate time off and ensuring the swiftest possible return to school.
Request intervention from an Educational Inclusion Officer
If you have explored the options above, but are continuing to have issues with the child’s attendance, you may be able to get support from an the council's Educational Inclusion Officer.
We investigate cases of irregular attendance, provide advice to resolve problems and if necessary carry out legal enforcement measures.
You can request support using the online form below. The referral may not be accepted if you have not explored the reasons for the child’s attendance issues and looked at support.
Report a child with attendance issues