Are they skipping school?

Finding out that your child has played truant is devastating news for most parents. So who can you turn to? Follow our tips to help both you and your child.

Try to stay calm

Although the news will be upsetting, screaming at your child or their school won’t help.

Find out the facts

This may be a one-off incident. So, find out the facts first.
Did your child ‘bunk off’ with another child. Where did they go and why? Are they unhappy at school? Is someone bullying them? Are they finding it hard to keep up with the work?
Don’t punish them, they may be crying out for help and support.

Talk to your child

They may be more upset than you are, or they may think it was all a huge laugh.
Let them know how worried you are. Explain how important their education is to their future and how disappointed you are in them.

If they’ve had problems at school, they may not feel able to cope, so organise a meeting with their head of year to talk through how to best resolve the problem.

Get help soon

If your child misses school on a regular basis they’ll lose out on future opportunities and may run the risk of getting involved in harmful behaviour. The sooner the situation is faced, the easier it may be to deal with.
Firstly talk to your child’s head teacher. For more help contact your Local Education Authority and ask to talk to an Education Welfare Officer or a Parent Partnership Officer.

Arrange a meeting at the school

* Take your child along.
* Write down the points you want to make and questions you may have.
* Keep a diary of events, just jot down in a notepad the dates of what happened when. It will help you to keep track of who you’ve spoken to, and contact details you may need.
* Keep copies of any letters.

Know your rights

Prepare yourself for meetings with the school or the LEA.
Contact the Department for Education and Skills on 0845 60 222 60. They can send you information on the law and truancy.

– Next: Be kind, but firm to your child

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