Why is it important for children not to miss school?
Most parents want their children to get on well in life and 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. Poor attendance can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships, a vital part of growing up.
Setting good attendance patterns will also help your child later on. Employers want to recruit people who are reliable. Children who have a poor attendance record may have less change of getting a good job.
Being on time is vital. Arriving late at school can be very disruptive for your child, the teacher and other children in the class.
Students should arrive in school before 8.30am for the start of registration. Any students arriving after 8.45am will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Five late marks after registers have closed in any 6 week period could result in a £60 fixed penalty fine or a summons to court.
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 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 may take legal action against you.
The Local Authority Education Welfare Department is responsible for making sure that parents fulfil their responsibility to ensure their registered children regularly attend school or any alternative provision provided. They can be contacted on 0115 876 2965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think you may need to take your child out of school, discuss the reasons with us as soon as possible.
What about authorised absence?
Of course there may be times when your child has to miss school because they are ill. This is to be expected and for this you should follow the school procedure for notifying illness.
Children may also have to attend medical or dental appointments in school time. You should however, try to make routine appointments, such as dental check ups, during the school holidays or after school hours.
Any absences must be requested as far in advance as possible and can only be authorised by the school.
NUAST treat every application for leave of absence on an individual basis; however, the academy will not authorise absence for the reason of a family holiday unless there are exceptional circumstances.
What happens if your child does not attend school regularly?
As a school we are responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the Local Authority Education Welfare Department. 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, and you may be issued with a penalty notice or taken to court.
The Education Welfare Department may decided to prosecute a parent who fails to ensure that their child attends school regularly. If this happens:
- Parents can be fined up to £2,500 or imprisoned.
- Magistrates can also impose a parenting order which means that the parent has to attend a counselling and guidance programme and parenting classes.
Excellent attendance is recognised and rewarded at NUAST with certificates and prizes for those students achieving 100%. We also offer an end of education prize for any student who achieves 100% attendance over their 2 year education career at NUAST.
We also nominate 2 students per year to received the Lord Mayor’s Award. This recognises achievement of city students for both attendance and attitude.
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.
- Attending school every day = 100% attendance
- Attending 4.5 days each week = 90% attendance, equating to 4 weeks missed per year.
- Attending 4 days each week = 80% attendance, equating to more than half a term missed each year or 2 full years missed over the course of their education career.
- Attending 3.5 days each week = 70% attendance, equating to more than a quarter of the school year missed.
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 2 weeks of learning each year.
What can you do to help?
- If you suspect that your child may be missing school, or is unhappy at NUAST, you should contact the academy as soon as possible so that we can work together to resolve any difficulties.
- Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of them missing school, but be on the alert for any particular reasons for non-attendance, such as problems with school work and discuss these with the school.
- If your child is ill or absent for any reason, contact the academy reception by 8.30am on 0115 859 2040
- If your child is attending a medical appointment during the school day, you can notify the academy by contacting reception or writing a note in your child’s planner.
- Make sure that your child arrives at school on time.
- Take an interest in your child’s education.
- Ask them about their day and praise and encourage their achievements at NUAST.
The information on this page is based on the DfE document —School Attendance (November 2016)
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