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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 Engagement Service (EES) fulfils our statutory responsibility in making sure 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
  • 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 agreement with schools, to the parents or guardians of children who have missed school without authorisation. If parents want to question the fines they should do so directly with the school.

Parents or guardians definition

This includes any adult who has influence or control over the child in question – you may have be related to them in one of the following ways

  • the biological parent
  • step-parent
  • grandparent
  • older sibling – if over 18-years-old

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.

Statutory school age

Parents need to make sure their child gets an education from the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday to the last Friday in June in the school year in which they have their 16th birthday.  You could get a penalty notice after the end of the school attendance – this would relate back to a time 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.

Unauthorised absence from school

Schools keep a register of school attendance for every child. The decision whether to allow 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: November 29, 2023 by Qi

Next review due: May 29, 2024

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