WHY ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL IS SO IMPORTANT
If a child of compulsory school age is registered at a school it is essential that they attend school regularly and maintain a pattern of good attendance throughout their school career.
Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child or young person to fulfil their potential.
Below are just some of the key reasons why it is so important children attend school:
To make new friends.
To experience new things in life.
To develop awareness of other cultures, religion, ethnicity and gender differences.
To gain qualifications.
To develop new skills.
To build confidence and self-esteem.
To have the best possible start in life.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Under Article 45 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (“the 1986 Order”), it is the duty of parents who have a child of compulsory school age1 to ensure their child receives efficient, full time education suitable to their age, aptitude, ability and to any special educational needs they may have. Such education may be provided by regular attendance at school or otherwise, for example home education.
Paragraph 3 (1) of Schedule 13 to the 1986 Order states that it is the
duty of a parent of a registered pupil of a school to secure their regular attendance at school. This applies to all children of compulsory school age who are on the roll of a school. As a parent you are legally responsible for making this happen.
Under Part III of Schedule 13 to the 1986 Order, if a child or young person who is registered at a school does not attend regularly, a parent can receive a fine not exceeding £1,000 in court (for each child). An Education Supervision Order (ESO) could also be made by a court under Article 55 of the Children (NI) Order 1995.
You can demonstrate your commitment to your child’s education by not taking holidays during term time. Any child or young person who is absent from school due to a holiday will miss out on important learning and will fall behind with their school work.
In each Academic Year there are only a maximum of 190 statutory school days – this allows plenty of time for holidays to be arranged outside term time.
Holidays taken during term time will be categorised as an unauthorised absence.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
Establish a good routine in the mornings and evenings so your child is prepared for the school day ahead.
Make sure your child goes to school regularly and follows the school rules.
Ensure your child arrives at school on time – not late.
Arrange dental and medical appointments outside school hours when possible.
Always inform the school if your child is absent due to illness.
Take family holidays outside term time.
Talk to your child about school and take an interest in their school work.
Attend parent evenings and school events.
Praise and reward your child’s achievements at school.
Discuss any problems or difficulties with the school – staff are there to help and will be supportive.
For some parents, 90% may seem like an acceptable level of attendance, but the reality is that 90% attendance means that your child will miss half a school day each week or 19 days of school during the school year – that’s nearly 4 school weeks.