The School Attendance Service (previously called the Education Welfare Service) is one of several education support services available to Island schools. The Service works closely with schools, children, families and other health/care agencies in seeking to achieve its overall aim: To support parents and schools to ensure that all children and young people of school age take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.
Every school in the Bailiwick has a named School Attendance Officer (SAO).
The importance of school attendance
- A good education gives children the best possible start in life. The Bailiwick of Guernsey's curriculum is designed to enable all students to learn and achieve in preparation for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.
- The Education (Guernsey) Law 1970 and The Children (Guernsey & Alderney) Law 2008 places a legal duty on parents/carers of every child of compulsory school age (between the ages of 5-16) to ensure that they receive full time education.
Role of a School Attendance Officer
- The role of a School Attendance Officer is to:
- Provide guidance and advice to schools regarding our Attendance Strategy & Policy.
- In partnership with schools, promote and, where necessary, enforce regular school attendance. This will include regular monitoring of school attendance, close liaison with other agencies and direct work with pupils and their families.
- Provide advocacy for pupils whose exclusion from school is to be considered by an Education Placement Meeting.
- Promote the general welfare and safeguarding of pupils.
On behalf of the States of Guernsey
- The School Attendance Service will:
- Investigate 'missing pupils.'
- Attend Convenor's Referral Meeting
- Attend Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
- Assist with enquires regarding pupils who are to be home educated.
- Make contact with families with children of compulsory school age who have not registered with a school.
Requests for Involvement
- The School Attendance Service receives requests for involvement from schools.
- Before schools request SAS involvement, they will have followed the Staged Approach to Attendance Management as outlined in the Attendance Strategy & Policy. The School Attendance Officer involvement will build on what has already been done.
- Our involvement may be requested for:
- Pupils whose school attendance records show persistent unauthorised absence, and whose level of attendance has fallen below 85% and have failed to respond to intervention by the school.
- Pupils who are persistently absent or have had extended periods of absence from school through ill health and for which medical evidence has not been provided.
- Pupils who are prevented from attending school for extended periods through ill health (supported by medical practitioners) and who require a period of home-tuition.
What happens when the SAS receives a request for involvement?
- Exactly what an SAO will do depends on the individual situation of each pupil. The range of things that an SAO might do is:
- Have meetings with school staff to discuss the pupil.
- Home visits to meet with the pupil and family to find out what factors are behind a pupil's poor attendance at school.
- Talk with other professionals involved with the family.
- Attend meetings organised by other agencies.
- Where necessary, arrange Attendance Meetings- these meetings formally consider whether the pupil's poor attendance at school is because of a lack of cooperation by parents and require further, possibly legal, action.
- Where appropriate, make a referral to The Children's Convenor.
- Where necessary, attend Child, Youth & Community Tribunal Hearings (CYCT).