School attendance and absence

The London Borough of Hounslow Council considers regular school attendance to be a key factor in maximising the opportunities for all pupils. The law entitles every child of compulsory school age to an efficient, full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude, and any special educational need they may have. Regular and punctual attendance at school is a legal requirement and is essential for pupils to get the most out of their school experience, including their attainment, wellbeing, and wider life chances. For the most vulnerable pupils, regular attendance is also an important protective factor and the best opportunity for needs to be identified and support provided.

The expectation of schools and the Local Authority is that children attend school every day the school is open. A pupil missing 10% or more of their own possible sessions due to authorised or unauthorised absence is classified as a persistent absentee. As defined by the Department for Education and Skills (DfE).

The primary legal responsibility rests with the parent/carer to ensure regular school attendance; however, improving attendance is everyone’s business.  To promote and maintain school attendance requires a committed partnership involving parent/carer’s, pupils, schools, Local Authority and any other services such as GP’s, Health, and Police.

The barriers to accessing education are wide and complex, both within and beyond the school gates, and are often specific to individual pupils and families. The Local Authority, statutory safeguarding partners and other local partners therefore have a crucial role in supporting pupils to overcome those barriers and ensuring all children can access the full-time education to which they are entitled. Successfully treating the root causes of absence and removing barriers to attendance, at home, in school or more broadly requires schools and local partners to work collaboratively with, not against families.

Hounslow’s School Attendance Support Service (SASS) previously known as the Education Welfare Service (EWS) remains central to this process and has contributed to the sustained improvements of attendance levels in our schools, by effectively working in partnership with schools and all agencies. The aim is to continue to improve and sustain these achievements, by assisting schools in their efforts to improve school attendance, advising parent’s/pupils of the importance of regular school attendance, making referrals for support and upholding S4441(a) of the Education Act 1996 where attendance remains a concern.

Contact us

School Attendance Support Service


Telephone: 020 8583 2622

Hounslow House
7 Bath Road
​​​​TW3 3EB

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