Children and young people are only allowed to be out of school with a valid reason.
Genuine reasons for being out of school include:
- travelling to or from a medical or dental appointment.
- a pre-arranged absence from school for family reasons or for religious observance.
- travelling to or from a work experience placement.
The council carry out regular truancy patrols across the city both on foot and in police vehicles. The patrols will stop children and young people who are not at school.
A uniformed police officer accompanied by a council officer will stop children and young people who are out of school during school hours and who appear to be of school age whether they are accompanied by an adult or not.
What will happen if my child is stopped?
The council officer will have monitoring forms to complete in all cases, whether the reason for absence is genuine or not. The council would ask all children and adults to support the truancy initiatives by giving the details required. Only by having this information are we able to evaluate the process.
The details requested are
- child's name
- family address and telephone number
- name of person accompanying (if child is accompanied)
- name of parent
- child's date of birth
- school attended (if the child is a registered pupil)
- reason why child is out of school
- child's ethnicity
We will also record:
- location where the child was stopped;
- details of the police officer and council officer carrying out the patrol.
What will happen next?
If the pupil is out of school without good reason he/she will be encouraged to return to school that day or even be escorted by police vehicle to the school premises and handed over to a member of the school staff.
If the child is considered to be "at risk" he/she may be accompanied home or in extreme cases to a "place designated by the Police as a safe place for the duration of the patrol". Contact will then be made with the child's parent or carer.
Within the next few days each of the parents/carers of all pupils stopped will receive a letters from the EWS Head of Service regardless of whether the absence was considered to be authorised or not.
Should a truancy patrol identify a case of unauthorised absence, the parent will be issued with a warning letter. A fixed penalty notice may follow.
What if my child is not a registered pupil at a school?
The council officer will still take the information detailed above for monitoring purposes.
The patrol is aware of a number of children are educated outside of school and will record that on the form. We advise the parents of home-educated children to explain to them about the likelihood of being stopped by truancy patrols.
If you have not been able to secure a school place for your child, for instance if you are new to Brighton & Hove, the patrol will pass the child's details to the school admissions team.
For more information please contact the access to education service
Access to education
Brighton & Hove City Council
Tel: (01273) 293580