The COVID-19 pandemic has meant many children have had to miss school as the country tried to control the spread of the virus. Families have had lots of different experiences of this time out of school.
Schools have now made it as safe as possible for pupils and staff to return, so it is expected that parents will make sure their children are back in school again. Schools will support families with this.
Being in school gives children the best chance to learn, make friends and get the most from their education.
It can be difficult to know when to send your child into school if they are unwell and lots of families worry about the fines or consequences of their children not attending.
Key Attendance Rules
There are 5 key points for parents and carers to understand about school attendance rules;
Sometimes it is unavoidable that your child misses school. This may be because of illness or a family emergency. This will not badly affect your child’s education. However if your child’s attendance starts to slip the negative affect might increase because;
Parents have a legal responsibility to make sure their children are in education from the term after they are five until the end of the June in the year they turn 16.
All children should be either registered at a school or registered as being home schooled.
If your child is registered at a school
If your are home schooling
Your child's education must be seen to be good enough to meet their needs. An Education Welfare Officer will contact you to talk about how you make sure your child is getting a good quality education.
When Can My Child Be Absent?
Your child may be absent from school if;
Absence due to COVID-19
COVID-19 means there are some reasons when schools will understand and / or ask children to stay home;
If your child needs to stay home for these reasons, absence will be authorised. School should make sure your child can access online learning to help them keep up.
COVID-19 is likely to cause more absences, so it is even more important that the rest of the time your child is in school.
Schools must update the Local Authority about children who are often absent from school. They must do this whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised by the headteacher. Schools have a responsibility to investigate unexplained absences to make sure children are safe.
School will work with you to help your child attend school. If it is felt you are not helping your child attend as much as possible, schools can begin a process to prosecute parents.
Your child’s schools will be sensitive their needs and are there to help all pupils. If you are worried give the school a call to talk about how they can help your child.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.