The Education Act 1996 makes it the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to ensure that their child receives full-time education suitable to their age and abilities. The requirement includes taking account of any special educational needs. This duty is to be discharged by regular school attendance or by other provision.
A child is of compulsory school age from particular dates in the year in which they reach the age of 5 until the school leaving date. This is the last Friday in June in the school year in which they become 16.
Whilst the provision of schooling is usually in full-time education, this does not preclude part-time education in certain circumstances or home-schooling. In relation to home-schooling, it will be for the parents to, if requested, satisfy the local authority that the child is receiving satisfactory education.
The Local Authority is able to take several different measures to try and enforce school attendance. These include:
- School Attendance Orders
- Penalty notices
- Criminal prosecutions
- Parenting Contracts
- Education Supervision Orders
- Parenting Orders
Additionally the police have specific powers that they can use to deal with truancy.