Truancy is unauthorised absence from school. By law, children of compulsory school age registered at a school must attend daily.

Compulsory school age is from age five to 16 years. Parents or carers are responsible for ensuring that their child attends unless there is a valid reason for their absence.

All North Yorkshire schools retain records of a child's attendance, which will be shown on his or her school reports and records of achievement. The government issues guidelines on school attendance, which all schools and parents must follow. You can find more information at the Department for Education website.

Which absences are unauthorised and which are authorised?

Unauthorised absences include:

  • minding the house
  • looking after siblings or parents
  • going shopping
  • celebrating a birthday
  • oversleeping
  • arriving late for school
  • going on a day trip without the school's permission

Schools follow up all absences, so you may receive a telephone call to check where your child is.

Authorised absence may include illness or days of religious observance. Leave may be granted in exceptional circumstances. Only the headteacher can authorise your child's absence from school.

What do I do if my child is absent from school?

Contact your child's school on the first day of absence. If the absence is likely to be prolonged, keep them informed at regular intervals.

When your child returns to school after any absence, ensure that they take a note for their teacher explaining the reason for the absence.

How can I help my child to improve their attendance record?

Ensure that your child arrives at school on time, that holidays are not taken in term time and that hospital, doctor and dental appointments are made outside school hours where possible.

If something is stopping your child coming to school, talk to your child's teacher or headteacher. Further help is available through the education social worker service. Contact us.