Does my child have to go to school every day?
Yes, your child must go to school every day. You can be referred to the Educational Welfare Service and even prosecuted if your child is away from school without a good reason.
Why do they need to go every day?
Going to school every day really is the key to getting the best out of school because:
- it sets up good habits for school and future life right from day one
- learning to read, write and do maths takes a lot of practice and is easier to master if your child goes to school regularly
- each day is a chance to learn something new
- school offers your child regular, dedicated help to master the many skills they need
- it teaches your child life skills like commitment, being reliable, having a good work ethic and sticking with things when they get hard.
What about my 5 year old?
Once your child has started school they are expected to attend every day.
If your child is going to be away from school for any reason you should always follow the school’s process to let them know. They need to know the reason that your child is away and that they are safe.
What if my child needs to be away from school?
Your child should go to school every day. But sometimes they might need to be away from school because they are too sick to attend.
If your child is going to be away from school you should let us know as soon as possible. You will need to let us know that your child will be away, why and for how long.
Your child’s safety and wellbeing is a priority for the school. If your child doesn’t turn up to school we will be concerned for their safety. If we don’t hear from you, we will get in touch with you to make sure your child is okay.
If your child is going to be away for several days, talk to their teacher about getting some work to do while they are away, so that they don’t fall behind in class.
Can I take my child out of school during term time to go on holiday?
No, a holiday is not a good enough reason to take your child out of school, so holidays should be planned outside of term time.
Events like a birthday or a special day’s shopping aren’t considered valid reasons for being away from school either.
You may potentially be fined by the local authority if you child is taken out of school during term time.
What can I do to make sure my child is going to school?
The key here is to make school the priority. There are things you can do at home, and things you can work side by side with the school on.
- talk to your children about why it is important to go to school every day – ask them what they want to be in the future. Their education is the key to doing well in life
- be positive about school
- set good habits about going to school from day one
- prepare your children the night before school - make sure they have done their homework
- have a good morning routine that gets them to school on time, relaxed and with everything they need
- don't let them have the day off just because they would rather be at home
- keep absences due to sickness to times when your child is actually sick - don't keep them at home when you know that they are just nervous about school – talk to the school who can help your child overcome this
- know about your child's school life - ask questions, listen to your child. This will make it easier to pick up on any issues they might be having
- keep family holidays outside of term-time, as every day at school is an opportunity to build skills, and repetition is critical for learning – especially for primary school children
- don’t overload them – school may be exhausting for your child so make sure they have some downtime after school to relax and have a break.
Working with the school
- build a strong relationship with us to improve communication – then it’s easier to talk to us if a problem arises
- get involved with us - volunteer for parent help, go on school trips, help out on the PTA. It helps you to get to know your child’s teacher and the school, and it shows your child that you prioritise their schooling
- learn our process for letting us know about absences, and contact us as soon as you know your child is not going to be at school that day
- talk to the class teacher if your child is reluctant to go to school, and work together to problem solve.
What can I do if my child refuses to go to school?
This can be really upsetting. Talk to your child about why they don’t want to go. Be supportive. There may be a reason, like:
- not getting on with some of the other children
- feeling too much pressure in their learning
- a health issue, like wetting their pants
Talk to your child’s teacher straight away. Whatever the reason, you won’t be the first parent to talk to us about that type of situation. We will have some good advice, and we’ll be able to work together to help your child.