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Both schools and Kent County Council believe that children must attend school regularly in order to benefit fully from the education provision. Ensuring good school attendance is a key issue, especially for vulnerable groups where early indications of other more serious underlying problems can be reflected in erratic or poor attendance. Nearly 50% of young people who become home educated have a history of persistent absence from school. Poor attendance is also a high risk factor for children and young people who are excluded and those who become NEET.
KCC takes robust legal action when parents allow their children become a persistent absentee without a justified reason. The number of Penalty Notices per thousand pupils issued by KCC is among the highest in the country. While Penalty Notices have their place among a range of measures to tackle poor attendance, there is a need for a rounded approach using a wide range of strategies to improve school attendance. It is one of our priorities to continue to work with schools to improve attendance, certainly to a level that is above the national average.
In many cases the root causes are due to family and social issues and these cases need to be addressed through an Early Help Notification as the PRUs, Inclusion and Attendance Service (PIAS) is now part of Early Help and Preventative Services. Since the restructure of the service, every school has a named School Liaison Officer who will process straightforward attendance cases, including Education Supervision Order, Penalty Notices and prosecution. You will find the list of School Liaison Officers for each school in each area and their contact details below.