School attendance and truancy

School attendance

The Education Welfare Service aims to help young people to make the most of school.

We offer you advice and assistance to help your child make the most of school through regular attendance and will do so with a courteous and helpful service.


Children will only make the most of the educational opportunities on offer if they attend school regularly and punctually. Missing even a couple of lessons per week will have a serious effect on your child's progress and is likely to lead to even more serious attendance problems as your child gets older.

Children sometimes skip school without the knowledge of their parents. Some truant for whole days, others register and then truant from lessons. For a few it can develop into a habit, but with prompt action, understanding and care, truancy can be prevented or cured. There are several reasons why children truant, including:

  • Fear of failure;
  • Problems with school work;
  • Boredom;
  • Problems outside of school;
  • Pressure from friends;
  • Teenage rebellion; and
  • Bullying.

We can advise you on any of the above problems or you can ask the school for advice and help if you have difficulty getting your child to attend for any reason.

Impact of poor attendance

The effect that poor attendance at school can have on a child’s education can be permanent and damaging. Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs, including English and Maths, than those who are persistently absent.

Persistent absence is a serious problem for pupils. Much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these pupils at a considerable disadvantage for the remainder of their school career.

There is also clear evidence of a link between poor attendance at school and low levels of achievement:

  • of pupils who miss more than 50 per cent of school, only three per cent manage to achieve five A* to Cs including English and Maths,
  • of pupils who miss between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of school, only 35 per cent manage to achieve five A* to C GCSEs including English and Maths,
  • of pupils who miss less than five per cent of school, 73 per cent achieve five A* to Cs including English and Maths.

Contact the Education Welfare Office

Telephone: 020 8871 8306

Our office hours are 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

If the Education Welfare Officer for your child's school is not available when you call, another officer will always be available to speak to you between those hours. Alternatively, you can make an appointment to speak to a duty officer.

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