Excellent attendance at school is important to allow your child to fulfil their potential and for them to have the best possible start in life.

Below are just some of the reasons why it is so important children attend school:

  • To learn
  • To have fun and make new friends
  • To understand responsibility
  • To experience new things in life
  • To develop awareness of other cultures, religion, ethnicity and gender difference
  • To achieve
  • To gain qualifications
  • To develop new skills
  • To build confidence and self-esteem.
  • To grow as individuals

Find out more:

Parents, carers and the wider family all have a role in ensuring children are able to maintain regular attendance at school. Parents also have a legal responsibility as Section 30 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 states:

‘It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of school age to provide efficient education for him suitable of his age, ability and aptitude either by causing him to attend public school regularly or by other means’.

A day of school missed without good reason is a missed opportunity for important learning and personal development. Here are some of the things you can do to help make sure a child in your care is not missing out:

Be aware of the impact of regular absences- missing school is missing out.

  • Take family holidays outside term time.
  • Try to arrange non-urgent dental and medical appointments outside school hours and if an appointment must be made within school hours, try to ensure your child is back at school as soon as possible.
  • Establish a good routine in the mornings and evening so your child is prepared for the school day ahead; build-up good habits of punctuality and attendance.
  • Be involved with your child’s education and school- ask questions.
  • Inform the school if your child is absent due to illness or other reason.
  • Discuss any problems or difficulties with the school: staff are there to help and will be supportive.
  • East Lothian Attendance policy
  • Scottish Government Guidance for parents about school attendance
  • East Lothian School term dates

If you need support to ensure a child in your care maintains regular attendance talk to their school – the staff are there to help. There are also a range of other organisations that may be able to help.

ParentLine Scotland

At some time all parents find that parenting can be difficult or stressful. ParentLine Scotland is the free, confidential, telephone helpline for anyone caring for a child in Scotland. You can call about any problem, however big or small.

Phone: 0808 800 2222

Online at the Parentline website.


Parentzone provides information for parents and carers about how you can support your child's education. For more information please visit the Parentzone's website.


Children and young people can get confidential help about any question, concern or worry.

Phone: 0800 1111
Online at the Childline website.

Citizen Advice Bureau

Your local CAB can provide information and support about rights and responsibilities when it comes to schools and education.

Information and advice on lots of areas at: www.adviceguide.org.uk where you can also find your local CAB.


Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. It operates a helpline for parents, carers and practitioners. Publications include 'A Parent’s Guide to Additional Support for Learning'. An interpreter can be arranged upon request.

Telephone helpline Phone: 0845 123 2303

E-mail: info@enquire.org.uk

Online at the Enquire website.

ABEL – Anti-Bullying East Lothian

ABEL is a voluntary organisation that developed out of the strong desire of parents to do something for themselves to overcome the devastating effects that bullying can have on children, their families and their community. ABEL offers information and support to the young person being bullied and their family and the young person displaying the bullying behaviour and their family.

Contact them through the Anti Bullying East Lothian website.

National Parent Forum of Scotland

Provides parents with information and advice on understanding the new curriculum and supporting their child’s education. Online at: www.parentforumscotland.org