Miss School Miss Out

Going to school is important for every pupil. Regular school attendance gives many benefits and opportunities for the future.   

Advice is also available for anyone finding school attendance challenging, to make sure everyone has the best chance of making the most of their education.

Missing school means missing out on so many things. A young person's prospects are significantly affected by the amount of education they receive. Future employers and training providers will look to see what grades a young person has achieved.

In this city, pupils who attend for more than 95% of the year achieve GCSE results that are one grade higher than those with lower attendance.

Being in school is also about being with friends, experiencing new activities and learning new skills.

There are sometimes unavoidable reasons why children miss school or struggle with school attendance. Help is available to anyone concerned about school attendance. 
Support incudes: 

Together we can make sure children don’t miss school and miss out.

Remember:

  • Missing 19 days in a school year means only being in school for 90% of the time
  • Being late 15 minutes every day would mean missing two weeks of learning in a year
  • School provides pupils with experiences beyond what is taught in the curriculum and these help to improve future prospects
  • Children do not need to stay off school if they have mild health problems, such as conjunctivitis, a cold or headache.

The Miss School Miss Out posters are available to download:

Case studies

There are sometimes unavoidable reasons why children miss school or struggle with school attendance. We've put together some examples based on real experiences of school absence and how to get help if you're in need of support for absence issues. 

Holidays away

Martin and Freya’s parents wanted to take them to see their grandmother in Germany.

The flights were cheaper in term time, so they took the week before half term as well as half term.

They thought it wouldn’t matter, and that it wouldn’t affect their children’s academic performance.

But it does.

Research in Brighton & Hove shows that children who have very high attendance generally do better than children who don’t.

Lower attendance often means not getting as good a grade at GCSE.

Missing five days of school means missing 25 lessons. It can mean missing whole topics that could come up in exams.

And don’t forget that parents can be fined or even sent to prison if children do not attend school.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled recently that taking children out of school for holidays is not acceptable, and that parents and carers need to work towards making sure their children’s attendance every single school day.

Taking your child out of school also means extra work for teachers. And they might not always have the time to help your child catch up.

Late arrival at school 

David often comes into school late, tired and grumpy.

He goes to bed at a sensible time, but he struggles to get up in the morning.

This is because he doesn’t switch his mobile phone off when he goes to bed.

He carries on contacting friends and playing games until very late – even after midnight.

He doesn’t think it really matters.

But it does.

Being 15 minutes late every day means you lose two weeks of learning by the end of the school year.

Research in Brighton & Hove shows that children who have very high attendance generally do better than children who don’t.

And when you’re tired you don’t learn things as well. So it gets harder and harder to keep up.

Doctors say you should stop using mobile phones or any other screens one hour before bedtime.

Children and young people need a lot of sleep – but often they don’t realise or understand this.

There is a lot of practical advice for parents on the internet about how to keep their children’s mobile phone use under control.

Here are a couple of informative websites for advice for parents and carers about mobile phone use:

Religious festivals and celebrations

Schools must treat absence as authorised when it is due to recognised religious observance.

The day must be exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parents belong.

You must get any such absence authorised in advance by your child’s school when it falls outside of school holiday times.

Important religious dates might include:

  • Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-Adha for Muslims
  • Christmas and Easter for Orthodox Christians
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for Jews
  • Baisakhi, Diwali and Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev for Sikhs
  • Diwali for Hindus
  • Vesak and Dhammacakka Day for Buddhists.

Schools don’t generally authorise absence from school for events that are not key official dates in the religious calendar.

These events might include weddings, christenings, first communions, bar mitzvahs and Catholic Saints days.

Casual days off 

Becky took the day off because she was going to a Taylor Swift concert in London.

Anwar’s parents took him out of school for a day trip to Thorpe Park, because it’s less busy during the week.

Magda decided to stay off school because it was her birthday.

Daniel didn’t come in to school one day because his family went on a Christmas shopping trip to Bluewater.

They thought it wouldn’t matter.

But it does.

Missing five days of school means missing 25 lessons. It can mean missing topics that could come up in exams.

Research in Brighton & Hove shows that children who have very high attendance generally do better than children who don’t.

Lower attendance often means not getting as good a grade at GCSE.

Low level illness

All children get a bit ill sometimes – but it shouldn’t normally be a reason to keep them off school.

Children are generally expected to attend school if they have:

  • runny nose or a cold
  • tummy ache
  • headache
  • nits
  • conjunctivitis

Vomiting and diarrhoea are good reasons for staying off school. Or if they have a doctor’s note saying they need to be off school.

Sometimes children say they have a physical symptom such as tummy ache when actually they may be worried about something.

Maybe they’re being bullied. Or they’re behind with their course work, or in trouble with their teachers. Or maybe they have problems outside school.

It’s always good to make time to talk to your child, listen to them and find out what the real problem is.

If you find it difficult to talk to your child about things, speak to someone at your child’s school.

This could be their form tutor, or school nurse, or head of year, or someone in the pastoral support team.

Research in Brighton & Hove shows that children who have very high attendance generally do better than children who don’t.

Lower attendance often means not getting as good a grade at GCSE.

Young carers

Are you a young carer? Is someone in your family a young carer?

If so, please let their school know – so that they can get the support they need.

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

This can involve practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping. It can also involve having to get up in the night to look after someone.

Young carers are often very proud of what they do to help their loved ones.

But being a young carer can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence.

We also know that some of them end up missing school because of their caring role.

Schools want to support young carers and help make sure they do as well as possible with their studies.

Please speak to your form tutor, or school nurse, or head of year, or someone in the pastoral support team about support for young carers.

The Brighton and Hove Carers Centre also works hard to support young carers.

Visit  https://www.thecarerscentre.org/our-services/young-carers/ to find out more.

Mental health

Serena stays away from school because she’s fallen out with someone and is really worried about seeing them.

Mohammed says he’s being bullied. Chloe’s parents aren’t getting on and she’s too worried about things at home to come to school.

Joe is feeling anxious because he finds school work difficult and he’s fallen behind and thinks he’ll get into trouble with his teachers.

Some of these can lead to difficulties with mental health. These difficulties are more widely understood these days.

Pop stars, footballers and other famous people have spoken openly about their struggles with mental health.

And they all agree that talking to someone about their problems – rather than bottling them up – was the most important part of starting to feel better.

If there are things that are making you feel bad there’s always someone at your school that you can talk to.

It could be:

  • Your form tutor
  • The school nurse
  • Your head of year
  • One of your teachers
  • A teaching assistant
  • Someone from the pastoral support team
  • Your school’s primary mental health worker
  • The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo).

There is also support available locally outside your school, such as the YMCA’s youth advice centre.

There are also lots of ideas available on https://findgetgive.com and www.wheretogofor.co.uk 

Staying away from school will only make your problems worse.

Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone at your school