A good education is vital for children and young people and regular attendance at school is a key factor in opening up more opportunities in adult life. Good attendance helps children to make good progress in school and fulfil their potential in life.
One of the most important ways a parent can support the education of their child and the child’s social, emotional and academic development is to ensure they attend every day and on time and avoid any unauthorised absences.
Regular attendance has not been easy or possible for many during the pandemic, however, with the government prioritising education and all schools being open to all pupils, full-time attendance is now expected again from all pupils. Read the current government guidance.
Going to school regularly and being part of the school community gives children and young people a sense of belonging and means that they benefit not only from lessons and learning, but also can see friends and teachers, ask for help, join clubs, go on school trips, have a clear routine and can get mental health support.
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Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly. This means your child should not have sessions of unauthorised absence.
At the head teacher’s discretion, absence may be authorised for genuine illness, for following government guidance or law relating to COVID-19 or for reasons of religious belief or for family trauma. Check with your school to be sure you understand their policy on authorised absence.
Any absence not approved by the headteacher is an unauthorised absence.
Unauthorised absence includes things like time off for shopping, birthdays, holidays, visiting relatives, arriving late and having days out.
We know that illness is sometimes unavoidable and to be expected. However it is very important to inform the school as soon as possible on the first day of absence, letting them know the reason, by phone, email, letter or in person at the school office so that the absence is authorised.
Not all illnesses need time off school. This is a useful NHS guide on whether or not children can come into school with different types of illnesses. Find out where Barking and Dagenham testing centres are and support for Coronavirus.
Parents and carers are legally responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly – unless they are home educated – and schools can offer help and support to any families who are struggling with attendance for any reason.
As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to ensure your child receives a suitable full-time education by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education.