There is a saying that “80% of success is showing up.” That is actually true for education.
What some parents may not understand is that not “showing up” at school or leaving early is not only bad for their child’s education, it might also be a breach of law.
In case you have some questions………..
Why be at school?
The Education Act 1990 requires that parents ensure their children of compulsory school age are enrolled at, and regularly attend school…. Once enrolled, children are required to attend school each day it is open for students.
Who is legally responsible for a child’s attendance at school?
It is the duty of the parent of a child of compulsory school-age to cause the child — (a) to be enrolled at, and to attend, a government school or a registered non- government school.
What happens if a child does not attend school?
Not attending school, leaving early etc without formal permission from the school is a breach of the Education Act and goes on a student record as an “unauthorised absence”. “Unauthorised absences” must be recorded by the school and reported. Usually these are recorded as a part of the reporting system.
What are usually approved as reasons for absence under the Education Act?
Being sick or having an infectious disease;
Having an unavoidable medical appointment;
Being required to attend a recognised religious holiday;
Exceptional or urgent family circumstances, e.g. attending a funeral.
Who decides if an absence is approved?
Parents need to be aware that it is the school who is required, by the Act, to determine if an absence (full or partial) is approved. The parent/guardian provides a request and a reason to allow the school to make this determination.
Principals have the authority to:
– grant sick leave to students whose absences are satisfactorily explained as being due to illness;
– accept other explanations for absence and record the absence as ‘L’;
– decline to accept an explanation for absence and record the absence as unjustified.
That means that a parent’s initial communication with the school in regard to full or partial leave must be an application for approval. It should not be assumed that the school can or will give permission for an absence unless it meets the criteria of the Education Act.
What does a record of unauthorised absence have on a child’s future?
Often prospective employers and other organisations will review attendance as a part of their recruitment process and a history of “unauthorised absences” can be seen as a “red flag”. It is an acknowledged fact that employers place a high value on dependability and a strong work ethic in potential employees and a record of unauthorised absences may indicate that this is absent.
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