Last updated: 12/09/2013
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Is your child at school today?
Many pupils go to school every day and enjoy it. Some children
may experience difficulties in attending school for many reasons. A
parent or carer may not be aware that this is happening.
Cornwall Council recognises that regular school attendance
is essential. Children need to enjoy their time in school and make
the most of the opportunities available to them.
If a pupil misses one day a week for their entire school career
they would lose the equivalent of two school years. The time missed
at school can lead to gaps in knowledge that become difficult to
The Education Welfare Service is aiming to reduce truanting
within Cornwall through anti-truancy schemes operating in certain
areas in the county. This is a joint initiative between the
Council and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. Through this
initiative the police will have the power to take truants back to
The Education Welfare Service can also offer support and help to
pupils, parents, carers and schools who may be having problems with
Remember, if your child is not in school
- they may be putting themselves or others at risk
- they are missing ou on educational opportunities
- parents and carers can be fined up to £2,500
What can you do to help?
- Make sure your child arrives at school on time
- Be aware of the schools rules and routines
- If your child is ill contact the school on the first day they
are ill. When the pupil returns to school send an explanatory
note of absence.
- Ask the schools permission in advance if you wish your child to
miss school for an exceptional reason. These are:
- Approved parental holiday
- A day of religious observance
- Above all, show interest in your child’s school work and
maintain contact with your child’s school.
Unacceptable reasons for absence:
- Birthday trips and treats
- Non urgent medical and dental appointments.
Holidays in term time
Holidays during term-time should not be taken.
Only Headteachers have the discretion to grant leave during
term-time, but they should only do so in exceptional circumstances.
If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to
determine the length of time that the child can be away from
school. Parents have no right to demand that absences are
authorised, but should discuss any plans for leave in term-time
with the school. Further information is available on the
Department for Education website.
Potential consequences of non-school
If your child does not attend school regularly then the Local
Authority may consider one of the following:
In Court the Magistrates will hear the case and decide whether a
conviction is appropriate. Magistrates are able to
- Fine each parent up to £1000 under Section 444(1) of the
Education Act 1996
- Fine each parent up to £2500 under Section 444(1a) of the
Education Act 1996
- Direct the Local Authority to reconsider applying for an
Education Supervision Order
- Impose a parenting order under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
This is designed to support parents in developing their skills in
order to prevent a further offence being committed.
- Give a conditional discharge for a period of time. This means
that if the parent is convicted of a further offence during this
time period, the Court will take the conditional discharge into
- Give an absolute discharge
How can the Education Welfare Service
Each school in Cornwall now has to buy-in a service from
Please check with your local office to find out if your
child’s school has an assigned Education Welfare Officer (EWO). The
EWO can provide help and advice on:
What the Law saysThe 1996 Education Act makes
it very clear that parents must ensure that their child of school
age receives regular full-time education. For most parents this is
in school. Where children are registered in school they must
attend. Only the school can authorise a child’s absence. If a child
is not registered or does not attend Cornwall Council may take
legal action against the parents or carers where appropriate.
Devon and Cornwall Police involvement
Patrolling officers may speak to children who are truanting from
school. In addition, Section 16 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
empowers the police to remove truants from a public place and
return them back to school; the police can only remove those
children who are of compulsory school age.
If you are worried about your child’s attendance try
talking to your child’s school first. If you feel unable to
do this or you would like further help please contact the Education
Useful information and documents
How to contact us
The Education Welfare Service can be contacted at several
offices across the county.