Pupils: Absenteeism

Department for Education written question – answered at on 27 December 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that children are not absent from school to take part in protests.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lords Spokesperson (Equalities)

The government is clear that missing school for events such as political protests is unacceptable and should not be condoned.

The department monitors events closely and has recently written to all schools and local authorities supporting leaders and teachers in taking firm action when necessary. The department encourages schools and local authorities to set clear expectations to parents on attendance and has confirmed that absence for this kind of activity should be treated as unauthorised. The department is clear that school leaders and local authorities should be enforcing attendance policies, and they should take immediate action where these policies have been breached. In the most egregious cases this can mean fines or prosecution. The department has shared this communication with Ofsted to ensure all inspectors are clear on the position.

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