School attendance

The right to education

The United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child says that children and young people have the right to education no matter who they are. UK law says you must ensure your child has an education that is provided efficiently and is suited to their age and ability.

You can do this by sending enrolling them in a local authority or independent school, or by providing education at home.

Attending a local authority school

If your child is registered at a local authority school, you must make sure your they attend regularly. Absence should not be without a reasonable excuse. Absences from school are either authorised or not authorised. Authorised absences include ill health and family issues. Family holidays taken during term time will generally not be authorised.

If you think your child is having problems which affects their willingness or ability to go to school, talk to the school. You can let them know about the problems and work together to help your child re-engage with school.

If your child absent on a regular basis, the school may contact social services, or make a referral the Children’s Reporter.

Part-time education

If a child is struggling to attend school, a part-time timetable may be put in place as part of a plan to a full return to school. This will only be used for a short time and should not become permanent.

Education in hospital or at home

Some children may suffer from periods of ill health or have a medical condition that means they are absent from school for a prolonged period.

Education at home or in hospital is usually provided by school staff who will liaise with the family arrange for age and stage appropriate materials. A home/hospital teacher can provide additional support as part of the team.