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School attendance

School attendance

All children aged between five and 16 years are entitled to an appropriate full time education (from the term after their fifth birthday until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they become 16 years old).  

If a child of compulsory school age (who is registered at a school) fails to attend regularly at the school, the parent is guilty of an offence.  Regularly means in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school. This is in the school’s term time calendar.  

Reducing absence from school is a key priority both locally and nationally. Missing school reduces a pupil’s educational attainment chances and increases vulnerabilities and risks. 

If a parent fails to secure regular school attendance at school or alternative provision they could face a Penalty Notice or prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court. If they are convicted, this could result in a fine of up to £2500 and/or a three month custodial sentence. This is set out in the Penalty Notice Leaflet [PDF, 285Kb].

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s attendance, please speak to the school so that they can look at ways of helping you.

You can help your child by:

  • working together with your child's school
  • letting the school know on the first day of any absence
  • not taking your child out of school for holidays, visits or shopping trips in term time 
  • taking a positive interest in your child's work
  • listening to your child
  • ensuring your child is ready for the school day
  • checking your child's attendance with the school if it is a concern
  • making sure your child is not illegally employed or being exploited and has been issued with a permit

Attending school regularly

Students with good attendance:

  • achieve better
  • feel happier and gain confidence
  • find it easier to make and keep friends
  • have better prospects of employment and training
  • are less likely to be at risk of harm or be involved in criminal offending

We can help

If you are concerned about your child's school attendance it is always best to talk to the school first. If you feel unable to do this or would like further help contact us on 01724 297502

Related pages

Contact details


01724 297502

Education Welfare Service
Church Square House
DN15 6NL

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Friday: 9am to 4.30pm

Last updated: 11/09/2017