Attendance and Absence

Attendance and Punctuality


The Importance of Good Attendance

Attendance and Punctuality Policy Information for Parents is published is our document ‘Attendance Matters’A summary of the points covered in this document can be found below:


What the law says about attending school

The law states that it is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that a child attends school from the age of 5 years (compulsory school age) until the age of 16 years. It is, in fact, a legal requirement and the Education Act 1996 gives schools and Local Authorities the power to hold parents accountable for any pupil absence.

Pupils must attend school on 190 days during the year unless there are exceptional, including legitimate medical, reasons why they should not do so. The school must take a register of pupils twice each day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. These two sessions for 190 days total 380 possible sessions during the school year.

Maximising Learning

There is a very clear link between school attendance and academic progress. Children who are regularly absent from school often do not do as well as those who have good attendance. The reasons for this should be obvious. Put simply, a child who is absent from school will miss an opportunity to learn. This ‘lost’ opportunity may include:

  • a vital lesson which introduces a new topic;
  • an exciting art lesson which cannot be repeated;
  • an activity day or educational visits which provides the stimulus for future work;
  • an activity which will not be repeated;
  • feedback on an assessment test or homework which the teacher will struggle to find the time to repeat;
  • a lesson in which the ‘penny drops’ and the child clearly sees the benefits of all their hard work.

Absent pupils nearly always experience, whether they appear to or not, a level of anxiety when they return to school and realise that they cannot catch up or take part in what they have missed. Absence from school can affect their confidence, self-esteem and academic progress.



Attendance Targets

Each year, the school sets a target for the pupil attendance it aims to achieve, including overall attendance, reducing unauthorised absence (family holidays during term for, for example) and reducing persistent absence (less than 90% attendance).  Given previous attendance and the excellent attitudes to school life of the children and parents, the school expects that children will attend school for no less than 97% of the school year.  This is an absence of just 5 days for any reason.

We also aim that NO CHILD in school will ever have an attendance level of less than 90% except in very exceptional (usually medical) circumstances.  90% attendance is the equivalent of missing HALF A DAY of school each week or 95 lessons during the whole school year.

 97% Target


Absence from School

The school must record all absences for every pupil and the reason for every absence.  Its is therefore very important that you let us know the reasons why your child is not in school.  This should be done by telephone on the first morning of absence and should be followed up in writing on your child’s return to school.  If you do not make contact, the school will call you to investigate any absence.

There are two types of absence:

  • authorised
  • unauthorised

 An authorised absence is one which the Headteacher feels is valid and reasonable.  These include genuine illness, hospital appointments which cannot be rearranged, days of religious observance and other exceptional circumstances which have been discussed and agreed with the Headteacher.

An unauthorised absence is one which the Headteacher does not feel is valid or exceptional.  Such absences include:

  • medical of other family appointment which could have been arranged at another time
  • birthdays, special days out or shopping days
  • family holiday or day out during term time
  • absence at the start of the school year in September
  • absence which may affect school or other tests
  • arrival later than 9.30am (other than medical appointment) 

Parents are asked to arrange all medical and dental appointments outside of school hours. 

Absence during Term Time / Family Holidays

Pupils should attend school every day of term unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.  Parents do not have an automatic right to remove their child from school during term time for any reason.  The law (September 2013) is quite clear in stating that headteachers may authorise a pupil’s absence during term time only in exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances do not include family holidays taken during term time.  In most cases, a request for a family holiday during term time will be refused.  If the refusal is ignored by parents, a request will be issued to the Local Authority for parents to receive a Penalty Notice (a fine). 

Parents must apply for pupil leave of absence (for any reasons) during term time using the form below:







Legal Sanctions : Fine and Prosecutions

Where parents fail to improve the attendance of their children or proceed with a family holiday or other unauthorised absence without permission, the school has the right to ask the Local Authority (LA) to issue a penalty notice (fine) or a penalty notice warning.  Penalty notices (fines) are set by central government.  The fines are currently (September 2014) £60 per child per parent, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days.  Failure to pay a fine after 28 days may result in a prosecution.  Further absence may also result in a prosecution and parents facing an appearance in court.

Parents need to be fully aware that fines apply to each child and to each parent.  For example, two parents taking their three children on holiday during term time may face a total fine of £360 (£60 x 3 children x 2 parents) if paid on time.


We also believe that arriving on time for school each and every day is important.  All children should be present in the playground at 8.50am each morning to be collected by their class teachers to start registration and lessons.  Arrival after 9.00am needs to be registered at the school office and will be considered ‘late’.

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