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Attendance and exclusions of children in care

Attendance and exclusions of children in care

How you can support good attendance, holidays in term-time, sickness, exclusions and reduced timetables

How you can support good attendance

Good attendance helps young people to do the best they can in their education.

Students who miss school frequently can fall behind with their school work and do less well in exams. 17 days absent in a school year can mean a drop in a GCSE grade in all subjects (pdf, 36KB) (opens new window) .

The Department for Education (DfE) sees any pupil who misses 19 or more school days a year for any reason as persistently absent. 19 days is the same as missing 38 sessions, or having 4 weeks off in term time during the school year.

To make sure your foster child has high attendance levels:

  • make medical appointments after the end of the school day or in the school holidays
  • don’t book holidays in term time
  • only let them have a day off if they’re too ill to go to school

Talk to your foster child about school at the end of each day. If there’s anything making them not want to go there, let the school know straight away.

If you think your foster child isn’t going to school when they should, contact their designated teacher, their social worker and The HOPE.

Holidays in term time

You mustn’t take your foster child on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a bereavement or a funeral.

If you need to take your foster child on holiday in term time the child’s social worker will need to complete an Absence Request form which you’ll have to sign.

You should make your request at least 4 weeks before you need the time off, and before you book the holiday or time off with the school.

Your request won’t be considered if your foster child’s attendance for the last term is below 94%, unless it’s for compassionate reasons.

If your foster child is ill

If your foster child is too ill to go to school, let the school know as soon as you can. You’ll need to tell them why the child isn’t coming in and when you think they’ll be back.

You should encourage your foster child to go to school as soon as they’re feeling better. If they feel unwell in the morning, but are better in the afternoon, they should go in for the afternoon session.

All schools will have an attendance policy on their website for you to check.

If your foster child is excluded

Schools and education settings have to follow school exclusion government guidance if they want to exclude a child in care.

Your school or education setting will:

  • work with you and The HOPE to try and avoid an exclusion
  • talk to you about other education settings or schools that a child can go to from the first day of their exclusion

If a child in your care is on a reduced timetable

A reduced timetable is when a young person is not accessing full-time education. For example, they may have a medical condition that means they can’t be at the setting for the whole week. Reduced timetables should only be used in exceptional circumstances. We expect young people in care to be in education full-time.

If the school or education setting thinks a reduced timetable would help your foster child, they’ll arrange a meeting to agree the best way to do this.

The meeting will include:

  • you
  • the foster child
  • their social worker
  • the lead person at the HOPE
  • any other relevant professionals

At the meeting the lead person from the school will complete a reintegration plan and review form.

If a reduced timetable is agreed the setting should hold review meetings every 6 weeks until the pupil returns to full time education.