How to talk to parents/carers about attendance

Learn how to approach initial conversations about attendance with parents and carers, and who in your school might be best placed to have them. Take a look at our guidance for positive and constructive conversations.

Last reviewed on 21 February 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 44402
  1. Start by having a 'quiet word' with parents and carers
  2. How to keep the conversation positive and constructive
  3. Consider pupils' mental health
  4. Create a plan of action together
  5. You may have to escalate the issue
  6. Further reading on improving attendance

The guidance is based on expert advice and the following non-statutory guidance:

Start by having a 'quiet word' with parents and carers

Approach parents/carers personally to initiate a conversation about attendance. It's best to do this as soon as you notice issues around attendance, especially if a pupil is worried about coming to school.

They’re more likely to respond positively to an informal chat than an official letter home, which might feel like a telling off. It will also help build a more trusting, open relationship.

This might be face-to-face before or after school, or over the phone. Remember to:

You might not be the