Research shows that children who attend school regularly are likely to be more successful. A pupil who misses a day of school a week misses an equivalent of two whole years in their school life. This obviously leads to gaps in their knowledge that become difficult to fill.
We are trying to improve overall school attendance by working on initiatives with the police and other agencies. We aim to raise awareness of the problem with parents and carers, pupils, schools, local businesses and communities.
Unacceptable reasons for absence include shopping, birthday treats and trips, looking after others at home and non-urgent medical or dental appointments.
The DfES expects all students to achieve an attendance level of at least 90 percent in every school year. However, individual schools generally expect a higher level.
If your child is ill or unable to attend school for some reason, you should contact the school by telephone and/or letter to inform them. The school will then ‘authorise’ this absence.
If your child has been away from school for three days (in some schools even sooner) without any parental contact, the school will send you a letter or make some other contact in order to check on the attendance. Such a letter could draw your attention to the fact that your child has been missing school without a reason. Such absence will be ‘unauthorised’ absence from school and it is unauthorised absence from school which carries with it the risk of prosecution.
The Education Welfare Services (EWS) monitors absence and works with families and young people where the level of absence is giving cause for concern. Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) have an area which includes one or two secondary schools and their contributory primary schools.
The EWS will work with the school who will identify causes for concern where they need the specialist help of the EWO. The EWO will often visit the home and talk with students and parents about the problem and seek to resolve it amicably and achieve a return to school. However, should there be no genuine reason for absence, the EWO has the power to prosecute the parents for not sending their children to school.
You can find out who your school's EWO is either by asking the school or contacting the EWS on 0115 854 6000 (Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe) or 01623 433433 (Ashfield, Bassetlaw,Mansfield and Newark).