Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Welcome | Login


Page last updated: 25/08/2020

The Lead Inclusion Officer for the service is Clare Davis. Hedda Wright, Inclusion Officer, supports Clare within the service . Hedda covers the social care areas of Mid and North Essex and Clare currently covers South and West.


Improving the attendance of Children in Care is a priority of the Essex Virtual School.

Our aim is to

1.  To reduce the time children, miss education through absences and placement moves.

2.  To reduce the amount of education lost to exclusions.

3.  To reduce or remove the barriers faced by children in care in accessing education.


Regular attendance is vital to a successful outcome for all pupils.

For many children in care, school is often the stable factor that can make a significant difference to their outcomes.


Clare Davis email address -  


Hedda Wright email address -  




School attendance for children in care is measured by:


Persistent Absence

In line with the government’s commitment to reduce absence they will be reducing the persistent absence (PA) threshold from 15% to 10%, with effect from September 2015. 

To be classed as persistently absent a child will only need to miss 19 days (38 sessions) over the 6 half terms of the school year.

Overall Absence

This refers to the amount of absence a child has over the school year regardless of whether they reach the threshold of persistent absence.​

Study Leave

The DfE advice regarding study leave is that it should be used sparingly and only granted to year 11 pupils during public examinations. As study leave is unsupervised, schools must record it as authorised absence. Schools should not continue to grant study leave when examinations are finished.

The official school leaving date is the last Friday in June in the school year in which a child reaches age 16. This means that year 11 pupils must remain on the school roll and their attendance must be recorded to this date.

Schools remain responsible for year 11 pupils up to the leaving date, even when they have finished exams. It is up to schools to consider how they might seek to widen the range of learning opportunities during this time to meet the needs of their pupils.

Holidays in Term Time

Essex County Council policy regarding holidays in term-time for children in care


Essex policy states that children and young people should not be taken out of school during school time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  If this is required, agreement would have to be given prior to the arrangement.  Foster carers would be expected to discuss this with the social worker of the child or young person and the fostering team supervising social worker.  The circumstances would then need to be discussed and agreement given by the Director for Local Delivery in the area where the child or young person's social worker is based, who will consult with the Virtual School Head for Children in Care. This should be agreed before any holiday is booked and authorisation sought from the Headteacher.


If a headteacher is approached by a foster carer direct to agree such an arrangement they should advise the foster carer that they cannot agree the request without the correct authorisation being in place and direct the foster carer to the child's social worker.