Policy for Attendance and Punctuality


‘Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential is an assumption so widely understood that it is insufficiently stated – pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind.

Publication - DFE – School’s Attendance October 2014.


Gosford Park has high expectations for attendance and punctuality from all pupils, at all times. We support pupils and their families to ensure that good levels of attendance are achieved. Our school target for attendance is at least 96%, however we continuously strive to achieve 100% attendance for all pupils. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-school links and communication systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance. If there are problems which affect a pupil’s attendance we will investigate, identify and strive in partnership with parents and pupils to resolve those problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.


This policy aims to engage parents to work in partnership with the school to increase awareness and recognise the importance of good attendance and punctuality.

· To ensure that parents perform their legal duty by making sure their children of compulsory school age, attend regularly and on time.

· To ensure the school attendance target is achieved, through rewards and incentives for good attendance and punctuality.

· To keep accurate, up-to-date records and have a robust and rigorous system for analysing attendance data.

· To identify causes of low attendance/punctuality with individuals, classes and groups of pupils and address them.

· To work with external agencies eg Children and Families First - in order to address barriers to attendance and overcome them.

· To ensure all the stakeholders, governors, parents, pupils and staff receive regular communication, about the importance of good attendance and punctuality.

The Law and Regulations

Leave of Absence - The Government issued new regulations in September 2013 regarding leave of absence which stated:

Headteachers are no longer permitted to authorise absence for holiday taken during term time.

Penalty Notices

If a parent takes a pupil on holiday it will be recorded as unauthorised and parents may be liable to further action, including the issue of a fixed penalty notice and possible prosecution through the court systems. (See appendix 1)

Head teachers may now only grant leave in term time where the circumstances are exceptional, for example:

· Death of parent/carer, sibling or close family member of the pupil

· Life threatening or critical illness of parent or sibling of the pupil

· Religious observances are often taken into account but only for the ceremony and travelling time, not extended leave.

Some exceptional circumstances need careful consideration, the fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, unavoidable and short.’ Unavoidable means an event that could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.

If there are exceptional circumstances, which lead you to request leave in term time for your child/ren, complete a ‘Leave of Absence’ form, which you can obtain from the school’s front office. The Head Teacher will then make a decision, on whether or not the leave can be lawfully authorised and will do so only if there is a genuine, exceptional and urgent reason for a child to be absent during term time.

Regulations do not allow school to give approval after the event. If parents do not apply for leave of absence in advance, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Parents will be liable to further action, including the issue of a fixed penalty notice and prosecution through the court.

Persistent unauthorised, unauthorised absence or lateness over a 5 week period

A pupil who has 10 school sessions, that are recorded as unauthorised absence, in a 5 week period - will be investigated further. School will make initial contact with the family and invite them in for informal discussions, the situation will be monitored and if no progress is made then further then details will be forwarded to The Children and Family First Team from the Local Authority - See Appendix 3 for protocols.

Roles and responsibilities for attendance

It is essential that everyone involved in promoting attendance is clear about the important role that must be carried out in order to raise standards. Promoting good attendance is the responsibility of the whole school.

Head Teacher:

· To be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the policy.

· To deal with parental requests for extended leave in line with DFE and Local Authority policies and procedures.

· To reinforce the use of Penalty Notices, in line with DFE and Local Authority policies and procedures.

· To regularly report to governors on attendance and punctuality.

Deputy Head Teacher:

· To lead on/take responsibility for attendance/punctuality, on a day-to-day basis, including liaising with/responding to parental enquires.

· To oversee the analysis of/analyse weekly/termly/yearly data and respond to findings.

· To meet with the Learning Mentor to monitor the systems and structures, ensuring they are having an impact on pupil attendance and punctuality.

· To liaise with external agencies such as the Children and Families First Team and make referrals where necessary.

· To ensure that rewards and incentives for attendance and punctuality are being maintained by the Learning Mentor.

· Work with the teachers, to plan for the reintegration of pupils after long-term absence.

· To revise and amend the policy, as required.

· Inform parents of school procedures, when parents have failed to inform the school of an absentee and to contact parent’s/carers by letter when needs arise.

Learning Mentor

· To monitor weekly attendance data for year groups.

· To check the school answer phone and take messages from parents/carers about pupil absence.

· To promptly inform the Deputy Headteacher if there are any concerns relating to attendance/punctuality

· To produce weekly/termly/yearly data for Deputy Headteacher/Senior Leadership Team to analyse.

· To record reasons for absence and updating class registers as and when required

· To implement the daily checking of e-Portal registers after the morning and afternoon registration sessions.

· To maintain clear communication with the Deputy Headteacher regarding attendance and punctuality within year groups.

· To support Deputy Headteacher with the promotion of good attendance and punctuality, through finding/organising incentives and produce images (posters) that promote good attendance.

· Work with pupils and their families where attendance is a concern, identifying barriers to good attendance and working to overcome these.

· To ensure staff are following the registration systems and structures in this policy.


· To keep accurate and up-to-date daily records of pupil attendance through the SIMS register system.

· Take a formal register of all pupils twice a day.

· To regularly remind children and parents about the importance of good attendance, both formally and informally.

· To promptly inform the Deputy Headteacher of pupils who persist with poor attendance.


· To appoint a governor responsible for attendance and punctuality.

· Consult with Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher over the Attendance and Punctuality Policy.

· To discuss attendance and punctuality with the governing body and show an understanding of attendance and punctuality at Gosford Park.


· Ensure their child attends school and arrives on time every day.

· Only keep a child at home if they have a serious illness or injury. If this is the case, parents should contact the school before 8.30am on the first day of absence.

· If a child has a minor illness e.g. mild headache, stomach-aches etc children should come in to school and parents report the condition to the child’s class teacher. If the child’s condition deteriorates as the day progresses, the school will contact the parents to arrange collection.

· Routine medical and dental appointments should be arranged out of school time wherever possible.

· Parents should supply the school with evidence of medical appointments and pupils must attend school prior to and after the appointment time.

· Work in partnership with the school and other agencies in the best interests of their child; this includes informing the school about significant influences and changes in the child’s life, which may impact on the child’s attendance.

Timings and protocols

School times Nursery times






School doors are opened

8.45am & 12.30pm

School doors are opened


School doors are closed

Registration takes place now

8.55am & 12.40pm

School doors are closed

Registration takes place now


Main gates locked – now enter via main school reception


Main gates locked – now enter via main school reception


End of school day

12.45am & 3.30pm

End of school day


Class teachers are required to mark registers at the start of each session as follows.

Year Group















We monitor authorised and non-authorised absences rigorously and compile an absence report weekly. The absence report identifies absences and shows whether these were authorised or unauthorised by recording a variety of codes. (Appendix 2) An authorised absence is one where the school has accepted the explanation offered as a satisfactory justification for the absence.

Examples of authorised absences would include:

  • Approved sporting activity
  • Illness
  • Medical and dental appointments
  • Day of religious observance. Only one day can be authorised and this must be exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious authority.
  • Interviews for school places
  • Family bereavement
  • Attendance at a support for learning: Speech and Language; Dyslexia, CAHMS etc

Other absences are likely to be unauthorised. Examples of reasons for absence we do not consider acceptable:

· Birthday,

· Shopping for school uniform or new shoes etc

· Thought it was a Teacher Training Day,

· Missed the bus.

· Feeling tired

All morning registers are taken at the same time of 8.55am , if children arrive after this but before 9.30am they will be recorded on our registrations system using the code ‘L’ for late. The register is closed at 9.30am, children arriving in school after this time will be recorded as ‘late after registers have been closed’ and code ‘U’ given.

Raising the profile of school attendance

We believe that good or improving attendance should be rewarded at individual and class level. To promote this, at intervals throughout the year children will receive rewards to encourage and celebrate good attendance. During the course of the year we may run events to promote attendance and punctuality such as ‘Early Bird Week’ and our ‘Easter Egg- travaganza.’

Parents of children who have patterns of poor attendance or punctuality will receive support from our Deputy Headteacher or our Learning Mentor. These families will be set personal targets to enable their children’s achievement and attainment to rise.

Parents are informed about their child’s pattern of attendance at given times throughout the year.

· At the beginning of a new academic year if last year’s attendance target was below 95%

· During parent consultation – 3 times a year

· Child’s annual school report

· Weekly newsletter updates of every class’ attendance

· Half termly through the schools traffic light system.

· For identified families – as and when needed

On a termly basis the Headteacher reports on attendance to governors.

School and Children and Families First Working in Partnership

The school works very closely with the Children and Families First Team to promote good attendance. When staff are concerned about a child’s attendance, in the first instance they report a concern to Mrs Clemons who may herself make contact with parents/carers or make a referral telephone call to the Children and Families Team. In this instance she would state the reasons for school’s concern and the Children and Families First Team will investigate further. They may make contact via letter or by home visit, the outcome of the referral is communicated with either our Deputy Headteacher or the Headteacher.

Pupils whose attendance falls below 90% are Persistent Absentees and the Children and Families First Team will make contact with the family to improve their child’s attendance/punctuality. A CAF may be offered to the family to ensure they receive the relevant support to improve their child’s/children’s attendance.

* This figure will change to 90% in accordance with DFE guidelines in 2016.

Through such meetings we aim to raise parent’s/carer’s awareness of the implications of poor attendance and how we can support families to improve attendance.

· Children are required by law to attend school 190 days per year.

· The Government states that every pupil’s attendance should be at least *95%

· Being LATE after registration will also LOWER your attendance percentage.

Attendance over 1 Year

If your child’s attendance during one school year is…

That is equal to days absent

Which is approximately weeks absent


9 days

2 weeks


19 days

4 weeks


29 days

6 weeks


38 days

8 weeks


48 days

10 weeks


57 days

11.5 weeks


67 days

13.5 weeks

A range of strategies are employed to improve attendance .

  • First day calling and communication via School Comms system
  • Regular notifications and letters for parents/carers with a computerised print out showing pattern and percentage of absence
  • Home visit from Deputy Head & Learning Mentor or Children and Families Worker alongside an invitation to parents to attend consultations to discuss ways of improving attendance and setting individual targets
  • Where a child or children have been identified with poor attendance and/or punctuality the familiy may be offered a CAF via the Children and Families First Team to support them in making improvements.
  • Parent Contracts are also offered to parents of Persistent Absentees.
  • With the support of the SENCO - Co-ordinate interagency meetings involving other agencies such as Behaviour Support Services, Social Services, Child and Mental Health Services

Removals of pupils from roll

A child’s name will be removed from the register if they move to another school. This may only be done with the Headteacher’s consent once it is clear that another school is admitting the pupil. If a child doesn’t return to school after 10 days, following an official school holiday, proceedings may begin to remove the child’s name from the school roll.

If a child has "disappeared” without explanation and school hasn’t been notified of any absence or sickness, then after initial enquires the Children and Family First Team will be informed. We will adhere to the Local Authority Missing Person Protocol, and whilst we will make every effort to locate the pupil in conjunction with the Children and Families First Team. The child may be identified as a "missing person” if we are unsuccessful in locating the child/children.

If a child changes to ‘Education at home’, we will ask the Children and Families Worker (CFW) to visit before removing a child’s name from the register in order to confirm the place of education.

Any Child Protection and safeguarding concerns must be acted on immediately, in line with the school Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

Senior Member of Staff Responsible:

Michelle Clemons April 2015

Designated Member of Staff:

Senior Leadership Team

Governor Responsible:

Date for review:

April 2016


Appendix 1

Documents that support the use of prosecution –

Section 23(1) Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2007 :

Penalty notices may be issued to the parent of pupils who have unauthorised absence from school. The amount of the penalty is £60.

If this is not paid within 21 days the amount rises to £120.

If not paid within 28 days the Local Authority will prosecute under section 444(1) unless it comes to our attention that the penalty notice had been issued in error.

Section 444(1) Education Act 1996:

"If you are the parent of a child of compulsory school age who fails to attend school regularly, you are guilty of an offence.”

The court can fine each parent up to £1,000 per child, order payment of the prosecution costs and/or make a Parenting Order.

Please note that:

Penalties and prosecutions are in respect of each parent for each child. These prosecutions are criminal proceedings and could result in you having a criminal record.

Appendix 2

Registration Codes

/ Present (AM)

\ Present (PM)

B Educated off site (not Dual reg.)

C Other authorised circumstances

D Dual registration (attending other establishment)

E Excluded (no alternative provision made)

G Family holiday (not agreed)

H Family holiday

I Illness (not med/dental appointments)

J Interview

L Late (before reg closed)

M Medical/Dental appointments

N No reason yet provided for absence

O Unauthorised Abs (not covered by other code)

P Approved sporting activity

R Religious observance

S Study leave

T Traveller absence

U Late (after registers closed)

V Educational visit or trip

W Work Experience

# School closed to pupils & staff

Y Enforced closure

X Non-compulsory school age absence

Z Pupil not on roll

- All should attend / No mark recorded