Children registered at a school must attend unless permission is given for their absence. Parents or carers of children who truant may receive a fixed penalty fine.

What is truancy?

If any child under 16 registered at a school fails to attend their classes without prior permission, they are deemed to be truanting.

What are the penalties?

The parents' or carers' of a child who is truanting will be held responsible. Under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act parents or carers can be asked to agree to get advice or go on courses to help their child's behaviour. Failure to agree to such action can result in a fixed penalty fine of up to £120.

Are there any exemptions?

Children do not have to attend school provided they get 'an efficient full-time education', which may be provided at home.

Why do some children truant?

There are many reasons why young people truant. Sometimes they are having difficulties with their school work and are feeling discouraged. In some cases a young person may have a learning difficulty (eg dyslexia), that has not been recognised. They may be treated unsympathetically. In many cases, young people avoid school because they are being bullied, harassed or verbally abused (this can include sexual harassment or racial abuse). There is also a condition known as 'school phobia', which is a genuine fear of school.

Who to contact if your child is truanting

If you are experiencing any problems attending school, in the first instance you should contact your head of year or head of house. They should help you to resolve your problems. If you are still having problems or queries you can contact an education welfare officer through your locality office.

Truancy facts and figures

In total, there are 175 non-school days a year. This gives families the opportunity to:

  • Spend time together
  • Go on family visits
  • Go on holiday
  • Go shopping
  • Go on days out
  • Attend routine appointments

Holidays in term-time

Many parents and carers think it's okay to go on holiday during term-time, but this has a negative affect on their children's learning and ability to achieve. If your child goes on holiday during term-time, they are absent.

  • Ten days absence means 95% attendance
  • 19 days absence means 90% attendance
  • 29 days absence means 85% attendance
  • 38 days absence means 80% attendance
  • 47 days absence means 75% attendance

Children with over 90% attendance at school are more likely to gain five or more A to C GSCEs or equivalent qualifications.

Children with less then 85% attendance at school are unlikely to gain five A to C GCSEs or any qualifications.

Poor punctuality

Being frequently late for school adds up to lost learning:

  • Arriving five minutes late every day adds up to over three days lost each year
  • Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for two weeks a year
  • Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year

19 days lost a year through being late means 90% attendance.

If your child attends school, they are more likely to get on in life.

If your child regularly misses school, they are more likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour.

Your child's education is your child's future. Don't let them waste it.

Education Welfare Service Penalty Notice

This page was last updated on 28 February 2022

Rate this page