Crime & Disorder Act with Reference to School Attendance

UK laws regarding truancy and how the police can respond to truancy.

Police Power To Remove Truants

Section 16

This power enables a police officer to take truants back to school or other place designated by the local education authority. It is not a power of arrest or detention nor does it make truancy a criminal offence.

Full copy of the Government Guidelines Click Here

This extract from the Government Guidance document indicates that the police and other authorities should be aware that home educated children or children on fixed term or permanent exclussions are not truants.

Children being educated otherwise than at school

4.20 In planning for, and operating, a truancy initiative using the new power it is important to remember that not all children aged 5-16 are registered at school. Children educated outside the school system altogether (see paragraph 4.1), for example, by home tuition, might be out and about during the daytime for wholly legitimate reasons, for example visiting a library.

4.21 Local procedures should take account of possible contact with such home-educated children and it should be emphasised that they are not the target group for the new power. The power can only be exercised in relation to registered pupils of compulsory school age absent from school without authority; it does not apply to children who are lawfully educated at home. No further action should be taken where children indicate that they are home-educated - unless the constable has reason to doubt that this is the case.

Excluded pupils

4.22 Pupils excluded from school for breaches of discipline fall into two basic categories:

fixed period exclusions: a short term suspension, usually for a few days. Pupils on fixed period exclusions remain on roll and are absent from school with authority. If encountered during a truancy operation, the power does not apply to them and no further action should be taken, unless the police officer concerned has reasonable cause to suspect that they are not telling the truth.

permanent exclusions: once confirmed, permanent exclusion leads to a pupil being struck off the school roll. If a pupil claims to have been permanently excluded the constable should establish whether the pupil has yet found a place at another school (including a Pupil Referral Unit) or taken up provision made by the LEA (eg home tuition). Where alternative educational provision has been made for them at a school/PRU and they are absent from it without authority the power applies. If a pupil indicates that a permanent exclusion appeal is in progress, the power does not apply to them and no further action should be taken, unless the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the child is not telling the truth.

Other steps are being taken by the Government in conjunction with LEAs and schools, to reduce the numbers involved and the length of exclusions.


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 23). Crime & Disorder Act with Reference to School Attendance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: February 13, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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