What happens if a child does not attend school education

As the person raising the child you are responsible for ensuring that the child is being educated, whether or not you have parental responsibility for the child. You can be prosecuted and fined if the child is on a school register but does not attend regularly, or if the child is being educated at home but you are not providing a full-time education.
If you have decided that the child will be educated at school rather than at home, then the school and the Local Education Authority will monitor the child's attendance.

For more information on home schooling see here.


What should I do if the child I am raising is skipping school?

If you become aware that they are regularly not going to school, try to find out from them whether there are particular reasons why they are avoiding school, for example:

  • Are they being bullied?
  • Could they have learning difficulties which have not been recognised?
  • Do they have problems with a particular teacher or a particular subject at school?
  • Are they still upset by the events which led to them coming to live with you?
  • Are there any mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression or panic attacks?

If you discover any particular reasons, it is a good idea to write to the school and ask for a meeting, to discuss what you think is bothering the child, and what the possible solutions might be. They may be able to involve an Education Welfare Officer (EWO) who may be able to help you get support for the child if this is needed. The EWO might be employed by the school or by the local authority, depending on what the local arrangements are.


Further information 

Action over non-attendance
ACE Education School Attendance and Absence

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