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The Participation Team

Advising schools, professionals, parents, children and young people of statutory school age on school attendance and tracking of young people aged 16 to 19 who may be not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Who to contact

Between the hours of 9am and 5pm a Duty Officer will do their best to give you information and advice and if appropriate arrange for an officer to call you. 

If you call outside of these hours, an answerphone is available for you to leave your message and you will be responded to the following working day.

Schools create and uphold their own policies and procedures. We can only advise on best practice.

A multi-agency partnership approach with many agencies including Health, Police and Social Care enables us to give a balanced, professional and caring service.

Statutory obligations

The Participation Team has a statutory role as part of our remit and this means that for pupils who fail to attend school/education provision regularly and punctually, ie less than 95% of the time without good reason or justifiable cause, a Participation Officer may become involved.

This team must also seek information about the status of young people between the age of 16-19 as to whether they are in education, employment and/or training and try to assist those that are not into a suitable provision. If young people have a learning difficulty they may be supported up to the age of 25.

Consequences of poor or non-attendance

Often an attendance panel will be the most helpful tool to explore the root cause of poor attendance and solutions found. For persistent non or poor attendance, a penalty notice may be issued (this includes going on holiday in term time), which is £60 per adult per child identified. The fine needs to be paid in full within 21 days or it rises to £120 per adult per child identified. This escalated fine needs to be paid in full within 28 days.

If the fines are not paid a summons to court will be issued to the parent/s and carer/s for the original offence of poor attendance. In appropriate cases, parents and carers may receive a summons to court without a penalty notice being issued.

In the event of conviction, Magistrates may impose a fine of up to £2,500, a Community Order, Parenting Order or even decide on a term of imprisonment.

Truancy sweeps

The Participation Officers work closely with Hillingdon Safer Schools Police Officers conducting Truancy Sweeps. Unaccompanied children are returned to school and penalty notices may be issued to parents and carers. The families of children who are found outside and unsupervised during the first five days of an exclusion from school may also be subject to a penalty notice.

Supporting schools

Schools can access a named Participation Officer to offer support, advice, attendance panels and statutory services.

A return is provided to the Participation Team every month from every school detailing poor and non-attenders so that we can consult on appropriate actions and additional support offered. We are happy to lead assemblies or speak to parents at school induction/open meetings and advise on current expectations for attendance.

System audits and strategic consultancy are available to schools from this service.

We support schools where targets are set to reduce persistent absenteeism and improve overall attendance. The SLA and further details are published on LEAP, the education community portal.

Elective home education

The Participation Team can offer advice to parents who are considering this as an option.

Further information

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 02 Oct 2020 at 14:50