School attendance and absence

Why your child must go to school

Parents and carers have a legal duty to make sure that their children receive full-time education. School attendance is vital in a child's educational and social development.

Truancy, or by being absent from school without reasonable justification, means your child:

  • misses out on valuable teaching
  • runs the risk of becoming a victim of crime or getting involved in crime
  • develops bad habits of poor reliability and time-keeping, which risks long-term unemployment

Employers found illegally employing school children are liable to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Parents and carers can be prosecuted, fined or even sent to prison if either:

  • they don't make their children attend school regularly and punctually
  • they condone their children's absence from school without reasonable justification