School attendance and absences

Why your child should go to school

Herefordshire Council wants all children in the county to have the best start in life. Attending school regularly greatly improves your child's chances of fulfilling their potential and receiving a good education.

The law entitles every child of compulsory school age to an efficient, full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude, and any special educational need they may have.

Compulsory school age

A child remains of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they become 16. Young people are then required to participate in education, training or work with training until they turn 18. You can find out more on the government's school leaving age page.

Parent and carer responsibilities

Parents or carers have responsibility for ensuring their child receives appropriate full time education, whether that is in school or you can educate them yourself.

When a child is registered at school, you, as the parent or carer, are responsible for ensuring your child attends regularly. This means your child must attend every day that the school is open, except in a small number of allowable circumstances such as being too ill to attend or being given permission for an absence in advance from the school.

You can be prosecuted if you do not give your child an education.

You can help your child develop good attendance habits from the start by showing them that you think school is important. See our tips to encourage good attendance.

If your child is refusing to go to school there is help and support available. We also have advice for children and young people returning to school after a period of absence.

If you are aware of a child who appears to not be going to school and is not receiving any other form of education, you should report it to us as soon as possible at