Attendance and truancy
It is important that children go to school as much as possible so they can get a full education that is suitable for their age and ability.
Children also learn to socialise at school, make new friends, learn new things, join clubs and play sports. When young people don't go to school regularly, they find their friendship groups change and it is difficult to settle in properly - even if they miss school for a few days.
The law also states that children must attend school regularly. Unnecessary days off soon mount up so that pupils have gaps in their knowledge and find it hard to catch up.
If a child misses one day a week for their entire school career, it is the same as missing two years of school.
Many schools give rewards or certificates to children who attend regularly or improve their attendance. Hull City Council promotes good punctuality by running 'early bird' weeks at various times throughout the school year.
What the law says
All children between five and 16 years old must attend school or have other access to suitable, approved full-time education. Parents and carers are responsible for making sure a child goes to school every day.
You should try to make hospital, doctor, dentist and optician appointments after school. Holidays should not be taken in term time. Only the head teacher of a school can authorise a child's absence even when a note or holiday form is provided.
Where parents or carers don't make sure their children go to school regularly, they are deemed to have committed an offence. Fixed penalty notices (one-off fines) may also be issued in certain cases where absences are unauthorised.
What to do if your child is too ill or can't go to school
We ask parents and carers to contact the school as soon as they know the child won't be going to school. It is helpful if you can let schools know more or less when they are likely to be back. If your child is ill over a long time, you should contact the school regularly to keep them up to date.
Taking children on holiday during term time
We encourage parents and carers not to take their children out of school during term time. New legislation which came into force from September 2013 states that holidays in term time can only be authorised by Headteacher's under exceptional circumstances, please discuss with your child's school what their exceptional circumstances are and discuss your request with the school prior to booking a holiday. You should always be aware of when SATs and other exams are scheduled.
What to do if you forget to report your child's absence
You should contact the school on the first day your child is absent, but if you forget to you can send a note when they return to school, or call in and speak to the teacher to explain. You should always contact the school as soon as possible.
What schools will do if your child is absent
Parents are normally contacted on the first day of the absence to check the reason. We ask parents to contact the school if their child is ill or has to stay away from school for any other unavoidable reason. If the child is away from school for more than one day, the school might call the parents again or write to them to find out what is causing the absence. If the child is absent due to a serious illness, the school might arrange for the child to have home tuition.
If there is no good reason for the absence, the case may be referred to an education welfare officer (EWO), who will visit the child's home. The EWO will give advice and support, and might refer the family to other agencies that can help them. If parents don't co-operate and don't respond to the help given, the EWO will prosecute through the magistrate's court, or give them a fixed penalty notice.
What to do if your child is repeatedly absent
You should ask for help from either the school or from us. We can give advice and support to parents whose children are repeatedly missing school without a good reason.
Education welfare service
Education welfare officers work for the local authority to help schools raise attendance levels. They work with families to help them overcome anything making it difficult for their child to go to school.
Education welfare officers try to help families and young people, but they can also prosecute if parents are not making sure their child goes to school regularly.
If you are worried or feel there is a problem with a child's attendance, you should contact the school first.
Education welfare team
Hull City Council
Tel: 01482 300 300
Text phone: 01482 300 349
Fax: 01482 613 235