Attendance at School

Parents should inform the school by telephone on the first morning of an absence and provide a reason for the pupil’s absence and expected return date. The school will contact the pupil’s family and thereafter other emergency contacts if no explanation is given for the pupil’s absence. Contact will be made during the morning of an absence, and early after the restart after lunch in the case of an afternoon absence.

Other agencies may be contacted if no contact with the pupil’s family can be achieved and if there are continuing or emerging concerns about a pupil’s safety or wellbeing. On return to school parents should provide a note explaining the reasons for absence.

Parents should keep the school informed of any changes of address or telephone numbers, both their own and those of the emergency contacts.

Section 30 of the 1980 Education Act lays a duty on every parent of a child of ‘school age’ to ensure that their child attends school regularly. Attendance must be recorded twice a day, morning and afternoon.

Regulation 7 of The Education (School and Placing Information) (Scotland) Amendment, etc Regulations 1993 requires each child’s absence from school to be recorded in the school register as authorised: i.e. approved by the authority and unauthorised: i.e. unexplained by the parent (truancy) or temporarily excluded from school.

Scottish Government Circular 5/03 makes it clear that every effort should be made to avoid family holidays during term time as this both disrupts the child’s education and reduces learning time. The circular also states that most family holidays are classified as unauthorised absence and reasons such as the availability of cheap holidays, the availability of desired accommodation, poor weather experienced during school holidays, holidays which overlap the beginning or end of term, parental difficulty obtaining leave are not acceptable reasons for taking a holiday during the school session.

Parents may request that their children be permitted to be absent from school under the following circumstances: extended overseas educational trip not organised by school, short-term parental placement abroad, family returning to its country of origin (to care for a relative, or for cultural reasons), leave in relation to the children of travelling families. Only written requests, detailing the destination, the duration and the provision that will be made for their continuing education will be granted and the pupil noted as an authorised absentee in the register.


Clearly where an absence occurs with no explanation from the parent, the absence is unauthorised.

The school attendance officer investigates unexplained absence, and Education Services has the power to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or to refer pupils to the Children’s Reporter, if necessary.

Children Absent from School through Ill Health

Young people of school age may be unable to attend school for a wide range of reasons including illness, accidents or long term medical conditions. In general there will be an automatic referral by the school for education outwith school after 15 days of continuous or 20 working days of intermittent absence, within a single session, for verifiable medical reasons.

© 2008-2017 Education Services, Inverclyde Council