Somerset County Council

School attendance and children missing education


Parent(s) and/or carer(s) must ensure their child is in education, (Section 7, Education Act 2006)

Parents/Carers usually enrol their child in a school or make suitable provisions to fulfil this statutory requirement.

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) fulfils Somerset County Council's statutory responsibility in ensuring parents and carers have their child attend school.

The EWS makes checks to identify any child missing from education. This may include home visits, school attendance sweeps, contacting known family members, liaising with Police and Housing Groups.

In Somerset, Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) are responsible for carrying out these duties. Each school in Somerset has a named officer who can be contacted through the school.

Penalty Notices are issued by Somerset County Council, in conjunction with schools, to the parent(s)/guardians of children who have missed school without authorisation.

Are you the parent or guardian of the child?

This includes any adult who has influence or control over the child in question; you may be the natural parent, step parent, grandparent or even older sibling (over 18 years) of the child. We take these details from the school records. If you believe you are not, or are no longer, the parent or guardian please contact the school in the first instance to check that they have the correct information in their records.

Is the child of statutory school age?

Parents are required to ensure their child receives an education from the beginning of the term after their 5th birthday to the last Friday in June in the school year in which they have their 16th birthday. It is possible that you could receive a penalty notice after the end of the school attendance. This would relate back to a period when they were of statutory school age. If you believe the child was not of school age please discuss this with the school in the first instance.

Does the child have unauthorised absence from school?

Schools keep a register of school attendance for every child. The decision whether or not to authorise the absence is made by the school in line with their attendance policy. If you believe they have made a mistake in the register please contact the school.


Contact: Children and Young People's Team
Address: Customer Contact, PO Box 618, Taunton, TA1 3WF
Phone: 0300 123 2224 (please select option 1)
Fax: 01823 321187

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed. 

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