Attendance and welfare

Attendance and welfare

Children and young people from five to 16 years old must by law receive an education that is suited to their needs. Children who attend schools and centres within Tower Hamlets must, by law, attend regularly and on time.

Tower Hamlets Council has an attendance and welfare service which works with pupils up to the age of 16, alongside schools, parents, carers and other public services and voluntary agencies. The service aims to improve school attendance, reduce truancy and to ensure that children fully benefit from education that is provided in Tower Hamlets. The attendance and welfare advisors have specialised qualifications and are often experienced professionals specialising in children's education.

Liaising with parents and carers

The attendance and welfare service speaks to parents and carers if there is concern about a pupil's attendance at school that has not been resolved by direct contact between home and school. When discussing pupils with parents the service will do the following:

  • keep appointments on time
  • be courteous and respectful at all times
  • inform parents about their rights and duties
  • handle any information given sensitively and discreetly
  • allow parents access to any records that are made
  • provide an interpreter when necessary.

Improving school attendance

The council’s attendance and welfare service aims to improve school attendance and reduce truancy by:

  • visiting schools in Tower Hamlets and discussing pupils whose attendance is of concern
  • giving advice, assistance and support to schools, parents and pupils
  • mediating between the child’s home and school if there is a breakdown in communication
  • helping schools and families identify and overcome any difficulties which prevent children from attending school regularly
  • completing assessments using the Common Assessment Framework in collaboration with the child, parent/carer, school and other professionals to identify unmet needs
  • working as the lead professional to co-ordinate support for the child where it is appropriate
  • participating as a member of the team working around the child providing support
  • referring cases with difficulties to other specialist services
  • working in partnership with parents, schools, social services and other agencies to secure good education for children
  • assisting schools in promoting good attendance and punctuality
  • helping parents and schools to meet their legal obligations concerning school attendance
  • enforcing school attendance on behalf of the council
  • working with schools on their attendance policies and strategies
  • working with other officers, for example school development advisors and educational psychologists, to provide coordinated support to schools
  • working with other agencies, including with the police when they are on truancy patrols
  • advising on child protection matters
  • advising and undertaking enforcement duties in relation to child employment and child entertainment responsibilities

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School referrals

Schools have to refer pupils who do not attend school to the attendance and welfare service according to the criteria for referral to the attendance and welfare service

Missing children and children missing education

The whereabouts of children who are defined as missing are unknown to statutory agencies and include the following:

  • children in families who are victims of domestic violence who have to go into sudden hiding
  • children in families who have disappeared without leaving a forwarding address
  • children in families who have gone on extended leave and have failed to return when due to do so
  • runaways
  • children who have gone missing notified by other local authorities

Tower Hamlets maintains a Missing Children Register. This is an electronic database created solely for the purpose of actively tracking down children aged 18 and under who have gone missing from the borough, and once they have been found, making sure that they are referred on to the appropriate agencies. 

Missing children from other local authority areas are recorded and checked against the Register. For more detailed information please refer to:

Children out of school are monitored and tracked on the pupil services admissions database.  This includes permanently excluded pupils and children who are home educated. In those instances where a child or young person aged 5-16 appears to be without education then the local authority should be informed using:

  • the notification of a child without a school place form

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Safeguarding and child protection

The welfare of children is a first priority. Everyone has a legal duty to report any concerns if they feel that a child's welfare may be at risk. Anyone, including pupils, parents, schools, professionals, staff in voluntary and community organisations and members of the public should call the Child Protection Advice Line to report any concerns that they have.

The Child Protection Advice Line is operated by qualified social workers who are able to discuss any concerns and offer advice and initiate follow-up if necessary.

Please contact the Child Protection Advice Line on:

Tel: 020 7364 3444
Fax: 020 7364 3433

Open: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm (except on public holidays).

For more information, please refer to the:

Leaflet on the Child Protection Advice Line

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Complaints and concerns

Any concerns should be discussed with the attendance and welfare advisor you are in contact with, but if this is not possible or satisfactory, please ask to speak to a manager within the attendance and welfare service.

If you are still dissatisfied, please contact the complaints officer:

The Complaints Officer

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel: 020 7364 5000

How to contact us

Tower Hamlets Attendance and Welfare Service

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel: 020 7364 3450
Fax: 020 7364 3433

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