Parents and carers must ensure their child is in education, (Section 7, Education Act 2006)

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

The Education Safeguarding Service (ESS) fulfils our statutory responsibility in ensuring parents and carers have their children in education.

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

In Somerset, ESOs are responsible for carrying out these duties. Each school in Somerset has a named officer who can be contacted through the school.

We issue Penalty Notices in conjunction with schools, to the parents or guardians of children who have missed school without authorisation. If parents want to query fines they should do so directly with the school.

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.


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Information for parents, schools and support services

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Last reviewed: May 22, 2023 by Qi

Next review due: November 22, 2023

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