Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life.

Most children are normally educated at school and regular attendance is vitally important. Poor school attendance damages educational achievement and the future progress of young people.

Promoting and supporting good attendance at school is essential to learning and attainment.

The Law

The law requires parents to make sure their children receive full-time education suitable to their needs. For most children this means attending school regularly.

By law, all children of compulsory school age (normally four to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens - either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly.

If your child is registered as a pupil at a particular school, that school must give permission for him or her to be absent. If your child does not go to the school at which he or she is registered, we could take legal action against you.

What can parents do to help?

Make sure that your child goes to school regularly, arrives on time and keeps to the school's rules on going to all lessons. It's a good idea to start these positive habits at an early age, while your child is in primary school.

  • If your child starts missing school, help the school to put things right. Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of him or her missing school.
  • If your child is ill, contact the school on the first day of your child's illness. Staff will be concerned if they do not hear anything.
  • If your child is ever off school, you must tell the school why. Do this by following the arrangements put in place by the school.
  • If you want permission for your child to miss school, for example because of a special occasion such as a wedding, you should ask for permission well in advance and give full details.
  • Do not expect the school to agree to shopping trips during school hours.
  • Take an interest in your child's school work.

Who to contact if your child is missing school

If you are experiencing any problems with your child attending school, in the first instance you should contact the school Attendance Officer who will try to help you to resolve your problems.

If you are still having problems, you can contact the Education Welfare Service.

PDF Icon Attendance Policy