Parents must make sure 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.

Parents and carers usually enrol their child in a registered school, but some make suitable provisions to fulfil this statutory requirement themselves. This is known as Elective Home Education.

The Education Safeguarding Service (ESS) fulfils Somerset County Council’s statutory responsibility in ensuring parents and carers have their child in full-time education. ESS will investigate where it is identified that any child is missing from education.

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

Each school in Somerset has a named safeguarding officer who can be contacted through the school.

Penalty notices are issued by Somerset County Council, at the request of schools, to the parents of children who have missed school without authorisation, including where unauthorised term-time leave is taken. If parents want to query fines they should do so directly with the school.

Schools keep a register of school attendance for every child. Absences from school are marked with codes to reflect the reason for the absence. The decision whether or not to authorise the absence is the responsibility of the headteacher, in line with their attendance policy. If you believe they have made a mistake in the register please contact the school.

You can find more information about school attendance and children missing education on the County Council website.