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School attendance

Welcome to the Education Welfare Service. We work in partnership with schools and families to encourage regular school attendance and achievement and to safeguard and promote the welfare of children so they can reach their full potential. 

Attending school on a regular basis is the key to your child doing well at school and will set them up with good habits for later life. It will also give your child the opportunity to:  

  • Make friends and improve social interaction  

  • Learn new things and develop skills 

  • Increase confidence and self-esteem 

  • Have better career prospects 

  • Achieve their potential and fulfil their aspirations 


Did you know? Absence disrupts the education of the individual pupil and the whole class. Children who do not attend school regularly can: 

  • Struggle to achieve well in exams 

  • Fall behind in class 

  • Find it difficult to maintain friendships 

  • Miss out on important and fun opportunities 

Make every day count

Regularly being absent from school can lead to a significant loss of learning opportunities, potentially putting your child at a disadvantage later in life. 

Attendance during one school yearEquals this number of days absentWhich is approximately this many weeks absentWhich equals this many lessons missed
95% 9 days 2 weeks 50 lessons
90% 19 days 4 weeks 100 lessons
85% 29 days 6 weeks 150 lessons
80% 38 days 8 weeks 200 lessons

Little Heroes campaign 

We have launched our ‘Little Heroes’ campaign to encourage school attendance and support key stage one children in several schools across Staffordshire. Find out more about Little Heroes: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/littleheroes 

Little Heroes visual web

Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices 

Regular and punctual attendance at school is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities. In recognition of this, the law makes it an offence for a parent or carer to fail to secure the regular attendance of their child at a school at which the child is a registered pupil, without good reason or the agreement of the school. 

Pay a penalty fine 

Penalty notices are one of the sanctions available for this offence and offer a means of swift intervention, which can be used to combat attendance problems before they become entrenched. 

Further guidance can be found below: 

Requesting a leave of absence in term time 

Amendments to the Education Regulations 2006 make it clear that head teachers can only grant a leave of absence during term time if there are exceptional circumstances to justify this. 

What to do if your child is ill 

Inform the school as soon as possible. Make sure your child takes a note from you on the day they return.   

Getting to school on time 

Your child should be at school on time, ready for the register to be called. If your child has a doctor's or dentist's appointment, inform the school beforehand so they know what time to expect them.  

If your child is late for no valid reason, this may count as unauthorised absence. 

What if my child doesn't want to go? 

Some children are reluctant to attend school or look to their parents to provide them with an excuse. Never give in to pressure to let a child stay off school, it may make things worse. 

If you are experiencing problems, talk to your child's school is the best place to start. Don't be afraid to contact your child's teacher or head teacher - communicating is the first step to addressing the issue. Most problems can be resolved once the school is made aware of the situation. 

If the issues are in school, like bullying or study difficulties, letting your child stay away will only make things more stressful later. Schools can often offer practical ideas to help make things better, but they can't do anything if you don't talk to them and encourage your child to do the same. 

What if I think my child is truanting? 

If your child is not at school when they should be, the school will be in touch with you. If you have any doubts,  ring the school yourself to check that they have arrived. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 

What the law says 

The county council has statutory powers under the Education Act 1996 to ensure children attend school and if an education welfare officer feels that parents are not fully engaging with support to improve their child’s attendance, they have several statutory actions they can consider. 

  • Impose a Notice to Improve  

  • Issue a penalty notice 

  • Investigate the parent(s) for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly. 

  • Prosecute the parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly. 

  • Apply to the Court for a Parenting Order 

  • Apply to the Court for an Education Supervision Order 

Getting further advice 

Department for Education - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Working together to improve school attendance (publishing.service.gov.uk) 

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