All children of compulsory school age must receive suitable education, whether by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Parents/guardians hold the primary responsibility for ensuring that their child attends regularly.

Compulsory school age

A child is of compulsory school age when he is five and ceases to be on the last Friday in June of the school year in which he reaches his 16th birthday.

Poor attendance

Poor attendance is defined as anything below 90 percent. The Department for Education expects a minimum attendance rate of 96 percent. 

Education welfare service

  • Education supervision order
  • Penalty notice
  • Summons section 444(1) / 444(1a)Education Act 1996
  • School attendance order
  • Simple caution


Make a referral to the education welfare service

Penalty notices for leave of absence

Schools can apply for a penalty notice to be issued against parents of pupils who have taken leave of absence during term time.

The local authority acts as the issuing body. Any disputes regarding the issue of notices should be directed to the head teacher of the school.

Code of conduct for education penalty notices

Parental support

Parents/guardians are recommended to contact their child’s school if there are issues affecting attendance, to see what support the school has available. Parents can also contact the education welfare service for advice.

Education welfare service