What you need to know if your child is missing school.

First aidAs they grow up children often miss a bit of school now and again because of common childhood illnesses. This doesn’t usually affect their education as they will catch up with any work they missed. But if a child misses a lot of school it can have a big impact on their education and how they feel about school.

What’s good to know is that education authorities have duties to ensure that pupils are able to continue their education when they are off school. These apply to children and young people who are off school because of:

  • accidents
  • trauma
  • mental heath issues
  • chronic long-term or life limiting or terminal illnesses
  • conditions that mean children may be in hospital repeated

These duties do not apply to children with routine childhood illnesses (such as chickenpox or a cold) where a quick return to school would be expected.

Schoolbooks in a pileChildren and young people often need time to get better if they have been ill or in hospital. However, if it is thought likely that they might be off school for longer than 5 days, and if their health allows, education outside of school should be put in place immediately. If it’s not clear how long a pupil will be off school, education outside of school should start as early as possible and should be in place after 15 days of continuous absence or 20 days of frequent absences.

If you want to find out more about how education outside of school can be provided or what you can do if your child is off, or going to be off, school read Factsheet 17 – When a child can’t go to school 


0345 123 2303
Enquire Visit our site for
children and young people

Helpline: 0345 123 2303

Visit our website for children and young people