School attendance and truancy

Your responsibilities

As well as your right to help from us, you also have the following responsibilities for ensuring regular and punctual school attendance:

  • Parents/carers are responsible in law for ensuring that children of compulsory school age receive suitable full-time education (Section 7 of the Education Act 1996;
  • Where your child is registered at a school, the law requires regular attendance. This means attending school punctually every day and for the whole school day unless there is an acceptable reason (such as illness) for absence;
  • Parents/carers are responsible for notifying schools if their child cannot attend;
  • If attendance problems do develop, the school will expect parents/carers to work actively with school staff and us to solve them; and
  • Parents/carers do not have an automatic right to take children on holiday in term time and should get the school's agreement first.

We can also take action through the Magistrates' Courts against parents/carers whose children are absent from school without good reason.

We always try to solve attendance problems by talking to the parents/carers, pupils and school involved. If we have to take action, we will give you a formal written warning and information about the process before you receive a summons. We will also ask you to attend the Borough Attendance Panel at the Town Hall to explain why your child has not been attending school regularly. Please note that you can be fined up to £2,500 in a Magistrates' Court if you are found guilty of not ensuring your child attends school regularly.

We can also take action under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This allows the LEA to issue Fixed Penalty Notices which imposes a fine of up to £100 as an alternative to prosecution.

Every Wandsworth school has either an allocated Education Welfare Officer or School Attendance Officer (or sometimes both). The officer checks regularly on the attendance and punctuality of every pupil. If your child is absent without a good reason, the officer may contact you to find out the reason for absence and to help you to ensure your child attends school regularly.

You can make an appointment to see an officer either at your home or in school or at the Town Hall. We will arrange an interview for you between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, at a time convenient to you. If you are not available between those hours it may be possible to arrange an appointment at another time convenient to you.

We will answer all telephone calls within 15 seconds and answer all letters within 10 working days.


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