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School Attendance Aims:

We are committed to meeting our obligations in regard to school attendance through our whole-school culture and ethos that values good attendance, including: 

  • Promoting good attendance  

  • Reducing absence, including persistent and severe absence 

  • Ensuring every pupil has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled 

  • Acting early to address patterns of absence 

  • Building strong relationships with families to ensure pupils have the support in place to attend school 

We will also promote and support punctuality in attending lessons. 

Attendance Responsibilities:

The Principal is responsible for:  

  • Implementation of this policy at the school  

  • Monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors 

  • Supporting staff by monitoring the attendance of individual pupils 

  • Monitoring the impact of any implemented attendance strategies  

  • Issuing fixed-penalty notices, where necessary 

The designated senior leader is responsible for: 

  • Leading attendance across the school 

  • Offering a clear vision for attendance improvement 

  • Evaluating and monitoring expectations and processes 

  • Having an oversight of data analysis 

  • Devising specific strategies to address areas of poor attendance identified through data 

  • Arranging calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues 

  • Delivering targeted intervention and support to pupils and families  

The designated senior leader responsible for attendance is James Grimsby and can be contacted via 

The school attendance officer (Operations Manager) is responsible for:  

  • Monitoring and analysing attendance data 

  • Benchmarking attendance data to identify areas of focus for improvement 

  • Providing regular attendance reports to school staff and reporting concerns about attendance to the designated senior leader responsible for attendance and the headteacher  

  • Working with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence 

  • Advising the Principal when to issue fixed-penalty notices 

  • Ensure up-to-date advice is given to staff and parents in regard to absence due to medical issues e.g. 48 hours for sickness and diarrhoea  

The attendance officer is Nikki Graham and can be contacted via 

Absence Procedures:

Unplanned absence  

The pupil’s parent/carer must notify the school of the reason for the absence on the first day of an unplanned absence by 9am or as soon as practically possible by calling the school office staff. 

We will mark absence due to illness as authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness. 

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask the pupil’s parent/carer to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily. 

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents/carers will be notified of this in advance. 

If a child is absent in the week before or after a school holiday, the Principal and Operations Manager will visit the pupil's home to see the child as per our safeguarding procedures.

Planned absence  

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment. 

Please contact the school office via telephone or email and provide proof of the appointment if possible 

However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary. 

The pupil’s parent/carer must also apply for other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible of the requested absence.  

Lateness and punctuality  

A pupil who arrives late: 

  • Before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code 

  • After the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code 

If a pupil is regularly late, the school will contact the parent/carer, to see if a solution can be reached. 

Following up unexplained absence 

Where any pupil we expect to attend school does not attend, or stops attending, without reason, the school will: 

  • Text the parent for reason for absence in the first instance. 

  • If no response from the text message the office will call the pupil’s parent/carer mid-morning on the first day of unexplained absence to ascertain the reason. If the school cannot reach any of the pupil’s emergency contacts, the school Principal and Operations Manager will visit the pupil’s home to speak with parent/carers.  

  • Identify whether the absence is approved or not 

  • Identify the correct attendance code to use and input it as soon as the reason for absence is ascertained – this will be no later than 5 working days after the session 

  • Call the parent/carer on each day that the absence continues without explanation to ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary. If absence continues, the school will consider involving an education welfare officer.

Authorised and unauthorised absence  

Approval for term-time absence  

The headteacher will only grant a leave of absence to a pupil during term time if they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'. A leave of absence is granted at the headteacher’s discretion, including the length of time the pupil is authorised to be absent for. 

We define ‘exceptional circumstances’ as absences linked to life events. 

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request.  

Any request should be submitted as soon as it is anticipated and, where possible, at least 4 weeks before the absence, and in accordance with any leave of absence request form, accessible via the school office. The headteacher may require evidence to support any request for leave of absence.  

Valid reasons for authorised absence include: 

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments 

  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong.  If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart 

  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh gypsies, Irish and Scottish travellers, showmen (fairground people) and circus people, bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and new travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school, but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision 

Legal sanctions  

The school or local authority can fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age. 

If issued with a fine, or penalty notice, each parent must pay £80 within 21 days or £160 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority. 

Penalty notices can be issued by a headteacher, local authority officer or the police.  

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice may take into account: 

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year  

  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission 

  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours  without a justifiable reason 

  • If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute or withdraw the notice. 

In some circumstances, the Norfolk County Council Attendance Team may choose not to issue a further penalty notice in the same academic year and may instead choose to prosecute a parent under the Education Act 1996 S444


Keeping Children Safe in Education - Children Missing Education

All staff should be aware that children being absent from school or college, particularly repeatedly, and/or for prolonged periods, and children missing education can act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities.

This may include abuse and neglect such as sexual abuse or exploitation and can also be a sign of child criminal exploitation, including involvement in county lines.

It may indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation, ‘honour’-based abuse or risk of forced marriage.

Early intervention is essential to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future.

It is important that staff are aware of their school’s or college’s unauthorised absence procedures and children missing from education procedures.

(Keeping Children Safe in Education Sept 2023.)