11+ years: Keeping your child in school - parenting advice

Whatever your child's age, it's your job to make sure they go to school.  Missing school means missing out on learning and social life - and it harms young people's long term opportunities.  Young people out of school are vulnerable and easily get into trouble. 

Young people may start missing school for many reasons - but the more they miss, the harder it is to go back.



It is very important for young people to attend school regularly.  They learn new information all the time.  Missing lessons makes it hard to understand new subjects.  If they can't keep up they will feel less confident in school.

Confidence & Achievement

Whatever your child's abilities, giving up on school will make them feel a failure and less able to achieve what they want.

Friends & Social Life

Friendships and everyday social life are very important to older children and teenagers.  When a young person is out of school, they become less important to their peer group - and they don't fit in when they go back.

Why do some children miss school?

  • Problems with friends and bullying
  • Feeling that they're different or don't fit in
  • Learning or behaviour problems
  • Stress about exams and achievement
  • Problems in the family


Holidays in term time give out the message that school doesn't matter.


Young people out of school are vulnerable.  no one knows where they are or who they are with.  They are at risk of being harmed or exploited by others, of getting involved in crime and of alcohol or drug abuse.

If you want them to be safe, do everything you can to keep them in school. 

Show them school matters

  • Expect them to go to school every day and on time
  • Help them learn to be organised - set them a good example
  • Try not to make dentist or doctors' appointments in school time

'Are they truanting?'

If you think your child is missing school without telling you - they probably are.  Take it seriously and don't be put off - they need your help.  Talk to the school.

'I can't make them go!'

Teenagers often have battles about getting up and going to school.  You're not helping if you give in.

Listen - stay calm - but be clear and firm

Tell them about legal penalties for you if they miss school


Stay in touch

Good communication between you and school matters just as much as when they were younger - don't be afraid to get in touch about any concerns.

If your child is ill, make sure you tell school on the first day of absence.

A united front!

Your child needs to know you will work with school beacuse it's best for them - don't let them play you off against school staff.

Take problems seriously and expect the school to do the same.

Tell school about anything important which may be affecting your child.


Is the information on this page correct? If not, please let us know.