Attendance and truancy

Most parents want their children to succeed - a good education is vital in securing opportunities in adulthood. As well as the academic benefits, regular attendance means your child will experience the social environment of school life.

Research has shown that school attendance and student achievement are closely linked. So, if you feel your child may have educational, family or social issues affecting their attendance at school, our Education Welfare Service is here to help.

What is the education welfare service?

The Education Welfare Service advises and supports students, parents and schools to improve school attendance.

Each school in Brent has an allocated Education Welfare Officer (EWO), who will visit regularly to discuss attendance with members of staff, review attendance data, and meet with students and parents.

If a child or young person is not attending school regularly the officer, in partnership with the student's school, will try to establish the reasons for the absences and offer appropriate advice and support. They may refer the student to other local authority and external agencies for specialist support. In the majority of cases such intervention results in improved attendance.

In a small minority of cases where attendance does not improve and there is no justification for continuing absences we may instigate legal proceedings to secure a student's regular attendance at school.

Attendance and the law

All children of compulsory school age must get a suitable, full-time education.

Once a child is registered in school (or other suitable education) it is the parents' responsibility to make sure that they attend regularly. If regular attendance does not happen, the parent may be committing an offence and we (the local authority) may take legal action against them.

Legal measures may include fixed penalty notices, education supervision orders, parenting orders and prosecution in a magistrate's court.

A parent includes any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility (as defined in the Children Act 1989) for a child or young person and any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person.

Having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law.