Community Action Team
|Community Action||Helping Pupils||Helping Parents|
Birmingham City Council's Community Action Team and West Midlands Police work together to challenge unauthorised absence from school.
Absence from school damages children's education and can affect their future prospects. It also puts them at greater risk of accidental harm, or becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime and of anti-social behaviour.
In law, parents are responsible for ensuring that their child receives an education (Section 437 and Section 444 Education Act 1996). Unless they have arranged for their child to be educated at home, they must register their child at a school and ensure that they attend regularly .
Under Section 16 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Police has the power to remove a child or young person, who is believed to be of statutory school age and to be absent from school without good cause, from a public place and return them to school or another designated place of safety.
The Community Action Team is accompanied by Police Officers and is on duty at various locations throughout Birmingham. Children, whether accompanied or unaccompanied by adults during school hours, are approached to ascertain why they are not at school. Any child found to be absent without the authority of the Headteacher is returned to the school or taken to a place of safety.
If the team of Attendance Support Workers stops you in the street, and your headteacher has authorised your absence, a check is made with your school.
If your absence is unauthorised, you are returned to school or a place of safety.
The Community Action Team is here to safeguard all children and young people who should be in school. If you absent yourself from school:
- You will miss out on an education that will affect your chances of getting a good job.
- You are more likely to become a victim of criminals, eg: drug dealers, paedophiles or muggers.
- You are more likely to be drawn in to a criminal lifestyle.
- Your parents may be fined or sent to prison (Section 444 Education Act 1996.)
You will know that it is the Community Action Team because officers are accompanied by a uniformed police officer. All Community Action Team officers have photo identification and any pupil returned to home or school is carried in a marked Pupil Watch or Police vehicle.
The Community Action Team also stops children seen with parents. If your child is away from school for a reason authorised by the headteacher, we confirm this with the school and note your child's details.
You will know it is the Community Action Team team because officers are accompanied by a uniformed police officer. All Community Action Team officers have photo identification and any pupil returned to home or school is carried in a marked Pupil Watch or Police vehicle.
Some parents condone their child's absence from school. Some reasons for this include:
- to go shopping;
- to collect relatives from the airport;
- it is their child's birthday.
These parents are denying their child the right to an education and breaking Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. This could lead to a fine of up to £2500 or a prison sentence.
If you are having difficulty getting your child to attend school regularly contact the Education Welfare Service.
If the Community Action Team stops you and your child has no school place, you will be referred to someone who can assist you to return your child to education.