Why is it important for children not to miss school?
It is more important than ever to have a good education behind you if you want opportunities in adult life. Children only get one chance at school, and your child’s chances of a successful future may be affected by not attending school or alternative provision regularly.
If children do not attend school regularly they may:
struggle to keep up with school work. In a busy school day it is difficult for schools to find the extra time to help a child catch up.
miss out on the social side of school life – especially at primary school. Poor attendance can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships; a vital part of growing up.
Setting good attendance patterns from an early age, from nursery classes through primary school, will also help your child later on. Employers want to recruit people who are reliable. So children who have a poor school attendance record may have less chance of getting a good job.
Being on time is also vital. Arriving late at school can be very disruptive for your child, the teacher, and the other children in the class. Some parents may be trying but finding it hard to get their children to attend school.
Make every minute count
What does the law say?
By law, all children of compulsory school age (between 5 and 16) must get a suitable, full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for making sure this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements which provide a suitable full-time education.
Once your child is registered at a school you are responsible for making sure he or she attends regularly. If your child fails to attend regularly - even if they miss school without you knowing - the Local Authority (LA) may take legal action against you.
The LA is responsible for making sure that parents fulfil their responsibilities. Parents are responsible for making sure that their registered children regularly attend school and any alternative provision arranged for them.
If you think you might need to take your child out of school, discuss the reasons with the school as soon as possible.
Reasons such as family bereavement or taking part in an agreed religious observance would be acceptable for short absences
. Unacceptable reasons for missing school include shopping and birthdays
Being on time:
gets your day off to a good start and puts you in a positive frame of mind, so that you can make the most of your learning opportunities.
sets positive patterns for the future. You can't expect to keep a job if you're always coming in late;
leads to a good attendance record and means you don’t miss any morning notices;
leads to better achievement because you attend the WHOLE of all of your classes;
leads to understanding that school is important and education is valuable;
helps you develop a sense of responsibility for yourself and towards others and is a sign of good character;
is respectful to your teacher and to your classmates and builds good habits for later in life when your employer pays you to be on time;
is very important indeed. Research shows that attendance and punctuality are the single most important factors in school success
Being late for school reduces learning time.
If your child is 5 minutes late every day they will miss three days of learning each year.
If your child is 15 minutes late every day they will miss is 2 weeks of learning each year.
What happens if your child does not attend school regularly?
Your child’s school is responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the LA. As a parent, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly, even if they are missing school without your knowledge. You run the risk of being issued with a penalty notice or being taken to court.
The LA may decide to prosecute a parent.
If this happens:
Parents can be fined up to £2,500 or imprisoned for failing to ensure that their child attends school regularly.
Magistrates can also impose a Parenting Order, which means that the parent has to attend a counselling and guidance programme, usually a parenting class.
What might the impact of poor attendance be on your child?
Research has shown that children who are not in school are most vulnerable and are easily drawn into crime. Those children who play truant are more likely to offend than those that do not.
Research also shows that:
less than 40% of pupils in secondary schools with an average of 17 days or more absence get 5 good GCSEs (grades A* to C) compared to more than 90% in schools with an average of less than 8 days absence.
Attendance in numbers
Attending school every day!
9 days of absence
19 Days of Absence.
28 days of absence
38 days of absence.
more than half a term missed per year or 2 full years missed over the course of their school career.
46 days of absence
9 weeks and 1 day of learning missed.
Attendance figures are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high 90’s before it can be considered good.
What about authorised absences?
Of course there may be times when your child has to miss school because she or he is ill. This is to be expected and for the odd day off sick you should follow the school’s procedures for notifying illness. Children may also have to attend a medical or dental appointment in school time. However, you should try to make routine appointments such as dental check-ups during the school holidays or after school hours. Any absence must be requested as far in advance as possible. Absences can only be authorised by the school.
Consider the following example: -
Jane is in year 7.
Her attendance is around 90%.
She thinks this is fairly good, however….
90% attendance means that she is absent from lessons for the equivalent of one half day every week.
If it stays at 90% in Year 7, she will miss the equivalent of one four whole weeks
If Jane then continues the pattern over the five years she will miss the equivalent of about one half of a school year.
What impact might this have on Jane’s life….?
Research suggests that:
- 17 missed school days a year
- = 1 GCSE grade
- DROP in achievement.
Each year, a number of our students in every year group achieve 100% attendance records, showing that this is an achievable target.
In addition, a number of students have achieved this level of attendance in successive years.