What we do
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child of compulsory school age (5 years to 16 years), is in receipt of a suitable education and, where they are registered at a school, that they attend regularly. The local authority has a duty to make sure that parents undertake this responsibility. In Sutton this duty is carried out by the Borough School Attendance Service (BSAS). The service’s main task is to help improve pupils’ attendance and reduce unnecessary absence by working closely with schools, pupils and their parents, and with other services and agencies to promote, encourage and, where necessary, enforce regular school attendance.
Local authority schools in Sutton have a named Borough School Attendance Officer (BSAO) who is in contact with the school and visits regularly to meet with senior staff to analyse and interpret data, check registers and identify and discuss any pupil whose pattern of attendance is causing concern. In the first instance, schools will contact parents to attempt to resolve any issues. If the problem continues or if there is no response, a referral may be made to the BSAS.
On receipt of a referral, the BSAO will arrange to meet with the parent/s and child to identify any problems that are causing irregular attendance, inform the parent/s of their legal responsibilities and agree actions to resolve any identified issues. A monitoring period will be agreed followed by a review meeting. If attendance fails to improve, the BSAS court officer may issue a penalty notice or take legal action via the court. BSAOs maintain a record of any work undertaken on a Tribal database.
Other duties undertaken by the BSAS include:
- preventative work including delivering new parent talks and facilitating attendance projects
- carrying out attendance audits in schools to review their attendance procedures and encourage good practice.
- assisting schools to review and update their attendance policies
- contributing jointly with Merton to the governor training programme
- informing schools of changes and updates to relevant legislation and guidance and delivering training as necessary.
- carrying out truancy sweeps/patrols in conjunction with the local police
- following up any referrals from the local authority’s child missing education officer or other sources with regard to young people who are identified as missing from education
- following up referrals in respect of young people whose parents have chosen to educate them at home, where inspection of that education has judged it as unsuitable
- issuing child employment permits for children of school age to be engaged in part-time work
- issuing child performance licences for children to take part in television, radio, film or stage productions and modelling work
- issuing licences for chaperones who accompany children and young people working in entertainment
- carrying out a yearly child employment campaign, visiting local shops and businesses to raise awareness of child employment legislation and ensure that young people are not employed illegally.