Compulsory school age - your legal responsibilities as a parent / guardian
In Jersey a child must attend school from the 1st day of the school term in which their 5th birthday falls until the 30th June in the school year in that they are 16.
For the purposes of the law the following periods in any school year are school terms:
- the period beginning on 1 September and ending on 31 December
- the period beginning on 1 January and ending on 30 April and
- the period beginning on 1 May and ending on 31 August.
Education (Jersey) Law 1999 on Jersey Law website
Attendance and absence
An education welfare officer visits every school regularly to help the staff, parents and pupils overcome problems that are getting in the way of good attendance. The following schools all have an attendance officer based on site:
- Haute Vallee
- Le Rocquier
- Les Quennevais
You and your child are very welcome to contact the Education Welfare Service (part of the Education Support Team) directly if you require our help. We are well placed to provide assistance ourselves or to help you find the right specialist help.
Why are educational welfare officers so interested in making sure my son / daughter attend school?
We believe that through regular attendance at school, children and young people can be given the best start in life. Good attendance will provide the opportunity for them to achieve their potential and a give them a better chance to make wise decisions in the future. We cannot do this alone and so we rely on the support and active encouragement of schools, parents, pupils and the community to help all our pupils do as well as possible at school.
All children have a right to a good education and it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that they receive it. Parents are key to good attendance at school and must make sure their children grow up with the clear message that attending school every day is expected of them.
How do schools know if a pupil has not attended?
Parents must ensure their child is registered at school and attend regularly and on time. If your child is absent when the register is being called at the beginning of the morning session or during the afternoon session, they will be marked absent. The school has to decide if the absence is 'authorised' (approved by the school according to clear attendance guidance) or 'unauthorised' (not fitting one of the approved categories).
What other methods of tracing poor attendance are used by the Education Welfare Service?
From time to time we patrol the streets and town centre during school times in case of truancy. If school pupils are found to be out of school they will be directed to return to their schools and there will be a follow-up with both the school and the child's family.
What should I do if I think there is a problem with my son / daughter that may be affecting their attendance at school?
Sometimes pupils have difficulties with other children in the school, with staff, or with their work. Any of these can prompt a fall in attendance. Whenever a parent thinks there is a problem it is really important that the difficulty is discussed with the school.
If you are worried, make an appointment to see the head teacher, head of year or class teacher and talk through the issues.
Sometimes pupils have difficulties outside school, with friends or family, which can also create attendance problems. You and your child are welcome to talk to the school or to the education welfare officer.
What happens if my child does not attend school regularly?
It is the legal duty of every parent to make sure that their children who are registered at a school attend it regularly and on time. Failure to carry out this duty is an offence and may be referred to the parish hall or the magistrate’s court in accordance with Article 12 of the Education (Jersey) Law 1999.
What is an Education Supervision Order?
If a pupil has a poor attendance record they may be brought before the court where an Education Supervision Order may be made. That order gives the Department for Education, Sport and Culture considerable powers to direct the pupil and the parents in decisions about education.
What should I do if I know my child is going to be absent from school?
If your child is going to be absent, they should give the school an explanation. We recommend you do this on the first day of the absence and follow it up again when they return to school.
Holidays during term time
Can I take my child out of school during term time?
Taking a pupil out of school for a holiday can be very disruptive to their own education and can disrupt the education of others in the class. Before arranging a holiday during term time, you are encouraged to talk to the head teacher or another senior member of the school staff. You should consider:
- if it is really the only time when the holiday can take place
- what the effect will be on your child's education
- how educational progress can be maintained
Head teachers may give permission for your child to be absent from school for a family holiday . They do not have to agree and there is no right to absence for holiday reasons. If you want your child to take time off school for more than 10 school days for a holiday, you must direct this request to the Director for Education, Sport and Culture.
Importantly, if you are considering taking a holiday in term time you should ask well in advance and before making a booking.
Download holidays in term time - a guide for parents (size 1.05mb)