Pupils: Attendance

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that the restrictions in place on the courts system to address the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the ability of local authorities to seek School Attendance Orders from the start of the next academic year.

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

We are asking schools and local authorities to work with families to secure regular school attendance for all pupils from the start of the autumn term. This will be essential to help pupils catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their wellbeing and wider development. Schools should bear in mind the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning and put the right support in place to address this.

A local authority will be able to serve a school attendance order on a parent if they fail to satisfy the local authority that their child of compulsory school age is receiving a suitable education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Failure to comply with a school attendance order is an offence.

Local authorities should not experience delays in court proceedings, provided they use the “single justice procedure” for offences relating to school attendance orders.

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