Schools: Absenteeism

Department for Education written question – answered on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the issue of children missing from school rolls.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Nothing is more important than keeping children safe and in suitable education.

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as it is possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school. Local authorities should trace those children and ensure that they receive full-time education.

A pupil’s name can only be deleted from a school’s admission register where one of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended has been met. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register. They must provide information about the pupil to the local authority when they do so.

The department has made clear the practice of off-rolling, whereby children are removed from school rolls without formal exclusion in ways that are in the interests of the school rather than the pupil, is unacceptable.

To support schools to welcome back all pupils from the beginning of the autumn term, the government has published extensive guidance. We are asking schools to work with families to secure regular attendance from the start of term as this will be essential to help pupils catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their wellbeing and wider development.

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