School attendance and absence


The aim of the School Attendance Support Service is to adhere to the DFE school attendance guidance, the Local Authority (LA) responsibilities and Hounslow’s school attendance strategy, to ensure that referred children of statutory school age receive their full educational entitlement in terms of attendance. To ensure they are safe and to enable them to achieve to their full potential. Hounslow School Attendance Support Service aims to improve school attendance and reduce Hounslow Persistent Absentees (PA), by working with schools, parent/carers, Children’s Social Care, Police and other agencies.

The LA and Schools work in partnership to give parents and children the same message regarding the importance of regular attendance at school. Where this message is not made clear at an early age it can lead to problems for parents when their children become teenagers and leave them at risk of  

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Poor mental health
  • Social isolation
  • Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Youth Offending
  • Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Gangs (grooming, drugs/county lines) and Youth violence
  • NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training)
  • Poor outcomes as adults
  • Unemployment
  • Alcohol/drug dependency
  • Poor mental health
  • Crime
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Literacy and numeracy difficulties
  • Underachievement at school / disaffection and reduced opportunities in life

Regular and punctual attendance at school is a legal requirement and is essential if pupils are to maximise their education opportunities. The expectation of schools and the Local Authority is that children attend school 100% to access this.

Acceptable reasons for absence are

  • Sickness (Where medical evidence has been supplied)
  • Unavoidable medical appointments
  • Religious observance
  • Exceptional Circumstance (Head Teacher’s Discretion)

Unacceptable reasons for absence are

  • Truancy
  • Holidays in term time
  • Shopping
  • Birthdays
  • Looking after siblings or the home
  • Non-urgent medical or dental appointments
  • Continued illness where no medical evidence has been supplied


How does the School Attendance Support Service work?

The School Attendance Support Service monitor the attendance of referred children where attendance levels are 90% and below; where a child has been absent from school for 3 consecutive days and no contact has been received from the parent/carer and where unauthorised term time leave has been taken. Where attendance is below the expected level without medical confirmation, the School Attendance Support Service will follow their procedures and send out letters, telephone or meet with parents to discuss any difficulties.

The School Attendance Support Service has a duty to remind parents of their legal responsibilities regarding ensuring their children are receiving the full-time education to which they are entitled. Where a parent has failed to ensure the regular attendance the School Attendance Support Service will consider issuing Penalty Notices in respect of the non-attendance in line with the Local Code of Conduct. Sections 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996 empowers designated Local Authority (LA) officers, Headteachers (Deputy and Assistant Headteachers when authorised by them) and the Police to issue Penalty Notices in cases of unauthorised absence from school.

In Hounslow, it is only the School Attendance Support Service that issues Penalty Notices. The purpose of the Penalty Notice is to prevent the escalation of unauthorised absences and to avoid prosecution under Section 4441(1a) of the Education Act 1996. However, in cases where irregular attendance remains a concern, legal action against the parents will be considered.


Support for parents

There is a wide range of support available, and the School Attendance Support Service can offer parent/carers advice when difficulties arise regarding attendance at school, and signpost for support to help remove the barriers to attendance. Each school has a named officer who can discuss strategies and will work in partnership with all other services to support parent/carers to improve their child’s school attendance.


Contact us

School Attendance Support Service


Telephone: 020 8583 2622

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

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