Attendance in Schools… Whose job is it anyway?

Posted on 18 April 2018 in All news

Good attendance at school helps children succeed, and raises attainment. When just a small incident of lateness or absence is accumulated across an academic year, it paints a stark picture, and has a negative impact on that young person’s achievement.

10 minutes late to school every day =  32 hours a year of lost education
 1 day a week of school missed = 2 months a year of lost education
Half a day a week missed throughout school life = one full year of lost education

But whose job is attendance anyway?


It is widely recognised – as outlined in many local authorities’ attendance strategies – that managing school attendance is a shared responsibility and that a number of stakeholder groups have a role to play including parents, schools and governors.

1. Role of Parents and Carers:

  • – The Education Act 1996 places a legal responsibility on parents to ensure their children receive a suitable education and attend school regularly if their child is a registered pupil.
  • – Parents are expected to report their child’s absence from school on the first day of absence and to confirm the reason in writing on their child’s return to school.
  • – Where there are concerns about a pupil’s attendance, parents/carers are expected to work with school staff and other services to address these concerns.
  • – Parents/carers are expected to support school attendance by avoiding family holidays during term time. (Headteachers can only authorise Leave of Absence from school in exceptional circumstances;
    a cheap holiday is not considered an exceptional circumstance by the DfE.)


2. Role of Schools and MATs:

  • – All schools have a legal duty under section 175 of the Education Act to promote the welfare of children.  This can be achieved by having effective registration systems which monitor whole school attendance and absence.
  • – Schools have had national absence codes since 2006, and they are not permitted to change or adopt their own codes – to ensure consistency.
  • – Schools should have an attendance policy which outlines how attendance is managed across the school.  The Headteacher has overall responsibility for attendance, but the attendance policy should be actively supported by all staff and governors (one governor should also be given responsibility for attendance)
  • – Attendance incentives should be part of a school-wide culture where  attendance is regarded as a minimum expected standard and where the whole school community strives to maintain high standards for attendance.
  • – All schools should operate a First Day absence procedure to ensure that parents are aware when their child is not in school.*


Truancy Call is an attendance monitoring application which can massively reduce the administration associated with monitoring school absence.  It automates the time-consuming process of office staff carrying out first day calling of absent students, manually.


Want to know more about Truancy Call? 

Book an online demonstration of here, or call the team on 03333 13 14 15.


Next time… ‘Our top 5 attendance initiatives for your School’