Working together to improve school attendance

Guidance for schools, academy trusts, governing bodies and local authorities on maintaining high levels of school attendance, including roles and responsibilities.

Applies to England


Guidance for parents on school attendance - Office of the Children's Commissioner


This guidance is for:

  • maintained schools
  • academies
  • independent schools
  • local authorities

It is designed to:

  • help schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance
  • summarise the roles and responsibilities of parents and carers, schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities
  • summarise the support that should be provided to families, and to pupils who are persistently or severely absent, or at risk of becoming so
  • provide details of the legal interventions available to schools and local authorities when attendance support does not work, is not engaged with or is not appropriate
  • provide details of what schools are required to record in their attendance and admission register

Further information, including a range of techniques for improving attendance and guidance on good practice is available.

Published 6 May 2022
Last updated 7 March 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated the 'Working together to improve school attendance' guidance that applies from 19 August 2024 to correct regulation references in points 218, 219, 286, 317, 369 and 377. No changes were made to policy.

  2. Added 'Working together to improve school attendance: applies from 19 August 2024' and 'Summary table of responsibilities for school attendance: applies from 19 August 2024'. The status of these documents will be statutory as of that date.

  3. Added 'Toolkit for schools: communicating with families to support attendance' and 'Annex A: example attendance letters and emails to parents and carers'.

  4. Added link to guidance on school attendance for parents.

  5. Added a link to a source of further information on improving attendance.

  6. First published.