It is your responsibility as a parent or legal guardian to ensure your child receives a full-time education that meets their needs (for example if they have special educational needs). You can send your child to school or do elective home education.
Children must be provided with an education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.
You'll be contacted by either:
- the school - if your child is enrolled in school and does not attend (even if they're only absent for a day)
- the council's education welfare officer - if the school refers your child to the local authority
You may be prosecuted if you fail to ensure your child is educated. This can be by failing to ensure attendance at the school enrolled at or failing to educate otherwise.
When your child can miss school
You can only allow your child to miss school if either:
- your child is too ill to attend
- the Head teacher has authorised the absence
There's extra support available if your child can't go to school for long periods because of a health problem.
Holidays in term time
You must have permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time.
You can only do this if:
- you make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
- there are exceptional circumstances
It is the head teacher's decision to agree how many days your child can be authorised absent from school if leave is granted.
Legal action to enforce school attendance
Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason. For more details see Legal action to enforce school attendance.
Help with getting your child to school
If you're having trouble getting your child to go to school, the school and local council can help.
You should contact the school first to see if they can help you to resolve any issues that are preventing your child from attending regularly.
You can also Contact the Education Safeguarding Service. Where there is an Attendance and Pupil Support Officer linked to the school, they may be able to give you advice and support to improve your child's attendance.