By not attending school regularly children and young people are leaving themselves vulnerable to risks which can reduce their life chances. For example those who do not attend school regularly are more likely to leave school without any qualifications and will leave themselves at risk of other poor outcomes including poverty, long term unemployment, criminal involvement, alcohol and substance misuse and social isolation and mental health problems. Furthermore, poor attendance affects the ability of schools to set high standards and an appropriate pace of work for other pupils.
The cumulative impact of absence on attainment can be stark. For example, by being away for a two week holiday every year and having an average number of days off for sickness and appointments, then by the time a child leaves school at 16, they will have missed a year of school. If a child is 15 minutes late each day, that will mean they lose just over 10 teaching days in a year.
For those children and young people who are the most vulnerable, regular attendance at school can be a challenge, yet school may be the only safe and consistent part of their lives. Away from the safety and security of school, young people are more at risk of abuse and exploitation, taking part in criminal activity and missing out on support for special educational needs and mental health problems.