School attendance

Information on how we help improve school attendance on the borough

Improving school attendance

The Barking and Dagenham School Improvement Partnership (BDSIP) School Attendance Service works with schools, families and other agencies to improve school attendance. Schools that buy into this service have an attendance officer allocated to them.

Schools that do not buy into this service make their own arrangements for addressing attendance issues. 

BDSIP attendance officers can assist schools by:

  • reviewing the school’s attendance policy and procedures and analysing data
  • creating effective lines communication between families and the school
  • undertaking assessments of the causes of poor school attendance
  • identifying strategies and action plans to improve school attendance, including legal action

When a child has irregular school attendance, the attendance officers will try to make improvements by:

  • visiting the family at the home
  • arranging meetings
  • working with other agencies
  • making referrals to services
  • using legal measures

Further information

A guide to absence statistics on

Parental measures for behaviour and attendance on

Irregular school attendance and legal proceedings

The Local Authority Education Statutory Services Team is responsible for facilitating all legal work relating to irregular school attendance and will institute legal proceedings, or issue penalty notices, on behalf of all schools.

When a child does not attend school regularly and all (or the majority) of the absences are unauthorised, legal action can be instituted against the parents or carers. This can be in the form of a penalty notice or summons to court.

A penalty notice is £60 if paid within 21 days rising to £120 if paid between days 22 to 28. They can be issued for irregular school attendance or for an unauthorised leave of absence. Failure to pay a penalty notice will result in the parents or carers being prosecuted in court.

Barking and Dagenham’s Penalty Notice Code of Conduct (PDF, 308 KB)

Parents can also be directly summoned to attend court. If a parent pleads, or is found to be, guilty of the offence of failing to ensure regular school attendance, the court has a range of sanctions depending on the circumstances.

Parents may receive a:

  • fine of up to £2,500 and/or a prison sentence of up to three months
  • curfew with electronic tag fitted
  • Community Order
  • conditional discharge
  • bill for court costs

The court may also impose a Parenting Order. These orders usually last for six months. The parents are required to attend parenting classes. Failure to adhere to a parenting order will result in further legal proceedings.

BDSIP contact
BDSIP School Attendance Service

CU London
Rainham Road North, Dagenham
RM10 7BN
United Kingdom

Local Authority Education Statutory Team
Local Authority Education Statutory Team

2nd floor, Town Hall
1 Town Square, Barking
IG11 7LU
United Kingdom