School Attendance – Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if my child is ill?
It is the parents’ responsibility to contact the school office (01474 534544) after 8.30am but before 9.00am on the first day their child is absent. A call to the school is expected every day of the absence. This is a safeguarding issue so that all parties know that your child is safe.
If your child experiences a prolonged absence, a note from his or her doctor may be required by the school.
Do I need to send in a letter about my child’s absence?
If you have rung or otherwise contacted the school, then we would not require a note as well.
Can my child have a day off school?
In exceptional circumstances, the Headteacher may agree to authorise other absences, such as absence due to a family bereavement.
The examples given below are not exceptional circumstances:
- To take him/her out for new shoes
- To collect relatives from the airport
- To care for other family members
- To interpret for me
- Because it is his or her birthday.
What happens if the Headteacher refuses to authorise the absence?
The absence will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’ and this will be noted on your child’s attendance record. The school will be required to make a referral to the Attendance Advisory Service if your child has high levels of unauthorised absences.
96 – 100%
Concern if absences continues
95 – 95.9%
Risk of underachievement – Action needed
90 – 94.9%
Severe risk of underachievement, persistent absentee (PA)
85 – 90%
Extreme concern – action with Local Authority
0 – 85%
It is part of the school’s Attendance Policy to monitor and track pupils who have an attendance level below 92%. Parents/Carers will receive letters when their child’s attendance level reaches a point of concern. If their attendance does not improve you may be invited into school to meet with the Attendance Officer and Headteacher. If there is still no improvement you will be asked to meet with the Schools Liaison Officer (Attendance Advisory Service).
You may as a consequence be liable to legal action being taken by the Local Authority, which could mean a prosecution in Magistrates Court or the issue of a penalty notice, payable by each parent for each child.
What will happen if I want to take my child on holiday during term time?
There are 38 weeks in the year when schools are open, and 14 weeks when families can take holidays. Taking your child out of school during term time for holidays is likely to impact on their attainment. Government guidelines prohibit the taking of holiday during term time for anything other than exceptional circumstances. It is the Headteacher that will decide if the request for holiday meets the exceptional circumstances criteria.
If your child takes unauthorised holidays or is absent for longer than the time agreed by your child’s Headteacher, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. This may result in:
- You receiving a penalty notice for each parent/carer per child
- You being subject to legal action by the authority that could result in a fine of up to £2500 per child.
- Your child losing their school place
What will happen if my child is frequently late for school?
At Cecil Road Primary & Nursery School the register is taken at 8.55am and 1.00pm (YR/KS1) and 1.30pm (KS2). Pupils arriving after these times must enter school by the main entrance and report to reception where their name and reason for lateness will be recorded. The pupil will be marked as late before registration has closed (Code ‘L’).
The register will close at 9.15am and 1.15pm (YR/KS1) and 1.45pm (KS2). Pupils arriving after the register has closed will be marked as late after registration (Code ‘U’) and this will count as an unauthorised absence.
Frequent lateness after the register has closed (U) will be discussed with parents and could provide grounds for prosecution or a Penalty Notice
Getting to school punctually every day and in time for registration is an important part of the school day. Your child will miss out on important learning, which could affect their achievement. They don’t have the social time to settle into class, it can be embarrassing for them and disrupt the rest of the class.
If your child arrives after the school register closes, the session is classed as an unauthorised absence. High levels of unauthorised absence can result in a referral and legal action may be taken against you, or you could be subject to a penalty notice.
What can you do to help?
- Find out what time the school starts, and how long it takes for you to get your child to school.
- Have a regular routine for the start of each day.
- Help your child get their clothes and equipment ready before they go to bed.
- Set a reasonable bedtime to make sure they get enough sleep.
- Get your child to school on time. If they start late they hav a bad start to the day.
Key Stage 2
8.45am: School Starts
10.40am – 10.55am: Break
12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch
3.30pm: End of School
The school gates open at 8.40am and 3.20pm to allow entrance to the school site.
What should I do if my child is reluctant to attend school?
There may be many reasons why a child is reluctant to attend school. These could be related or not related to school. Please contact the school office who will arrange a meeting for you to discuss strategies which can be put into place to support your child and their attendance at school.
If my child refuses to attend school, can I be held responsible?
Yes. As the child’s parent, you are expected to ensure that they receive an education. If your child does not attend school you could face court action resulting in a possible fine and or even imprisonment.
What do I do if I don’t agree with the school’s policy on attendance?
Much of our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulation but as always, if you feel an approach is unfair or unreasonable, then you can write to the Headteacher and/or Chair of Governors asking for a review. However, whilst any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.