School attendance and absence


Research shows that children who attend school regularly are likely to be more successful.

A pupil who has 80% attendance misses an equivalent of three whole years in their school life.

80% attendance means missing a whole terms GCSE work.

Non-attendance at school is likely to leave children vulnerable to:

  • Literacy and numeracy difficulties.
  • Underachievement at school.
  • Disaffection and reduced opportunities in life.
  • Unemployment and social exclusion.
  • Anti Social Behaviour.
  • Youth Crime.

It is important that parents, the local community and schools all give 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.

Hounslow Children's Services and Lifelong Learning Department - is trying to improve overall school attendance by working with parents,schools, police and other agencies

Acceptable reasons for absence are:

  • Sickness
  • Unavoidable medical appointments
  • Religious observance
  • Short term family crisis
  • Unacceptable reasons for absence are:
  • Truancy
  • Holidays in term time
  • Shopping
  • Birthdays
  • Looking after siblings or the home
  • Non-urgent medical or dental appointments.

Expected attendance level

All children are expected to attend school regularly. The expectation of schools and the Local Authority is that children attend school 100% unless they are ill. The Department for Education and Skills expects schools to have attendance rates of 94.5+% (primary) 93+% (secondary).
Absence from school

If your child is ill or unable to attend school for some reason, you need to contact the school by telephone and/or letter to inform them. The school will only "authorise" this absence if it is appropriate to do so. Schools will make contact with parents regarding absence from school where parents do not inform them of the reasons. Where possible this happens on the first day of absence.

Support for parents

Where parents/carers are experiencing difficulties getting children to attend school it is recommended that they discuss the issues with the school staff in the first instance. Schools have a range of staff, teaching and support staff, who may be able to offer help and support. The Education Welfare and school attendance team based at Hounslow House are available to support parents/carers and schools when difficulties arise regarding attendance at school. Each Hounslow school has an attached education welfare officer who can advise parents/carers regarding strategies that support them to deal with their children. The education welfare officer can arrange to meet with parents in school or at home to resolve particular difficulties. You can find out who your school’s education welfare officer is by asking the school or ringing the main education welfare service office at Hounslow House using the details above.

Monitoring pupil absence from Hounslow schools.

Schools and the Education Welfare Service work in partnership to monitor the attendance of all children. Where attendance is irregular or below the expected level without medical confirmation, schools and the education welfare service will send out letters, telephone or meet with parents to discuss any difficulties. Where attendance remains below an acceptable level without confirmed medical reasons, the school will refer the matter to the local authority. The local authority have a duty to remind parents of their legal responsibilities regarding ensuring their children are receiving education appropriate to their needs. Ultimately, as a last resort, the local authority may have to consider taking legal action against the parents through the courts or issuing a fixed penalty notice in respect of the non-attendance.

Contact us

Education Welfare
Children's and Adults' Services 
Hounslow House
7 Bath Road
Telephone: 020 8583 6600
Textphone: 020 8583 2618
Email the Education Welfare team
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