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Good attendance is vital if our young people are to be successful

To report your child as absent, please ensure you telephone or email us as soon as possible with your child's name, year group, reason for absence and expected number of days, if applicable.

Why is regular attendance so important?

Being in school every day when it is open, is important to your child’s achievement, wellbeing, and their wider development. Here’s what the data shows:

  • Students who did not achieve grade 9 to 4 in English and maths GCSEs in 2019 had an overall absence rate of 8.8% over the key stage, compared with 5.2% amongst students who achieved a grade 4 and 3.7% amongst students who achieved grade 9 to 5 in both English and Maths.
  • Generally, the higher the percentage of sessions missed across Key Stages 2 & 4, the lower the level of attainment at the end of the key stage.
  • Amongst students with no missed sessions over KS4, 83.7% achieved grades 9 to 4 in English and Maths compared to 35.6% of students who were persistently absent.

There are only a small number of circumstances where missing a school day is permitted.

When can my child be absent from school?

When you register your child at school, you have a legal duty to ensure your child attends that school regularly. This means that your child must attend every day that the school is open, unless:

  • your child is too ill to attend that day;
  • you have asked in advance, and been given permission by the school, for your child to be absent on that day due to exceptional circumstances;
  • your child cannot attend school on that day because it is a day you are taking part in religious observance; and
  • your Local Authority is responsible for arranging your child’s transport to school, and it is not available on that day or has not yet been provided.

These are the only circumstances where schools can permit your child to be absent.

What do I need to do if my child needs to be absent from school for one of those reasons?

You should contact their school as early as possible to explain why. If not, your child’s school will contact you on the first morning of their absence to find out why. All parents can request a ‘leave of absence’ for their child, which gives them permission to be absent from school. Leaves of absence must be applied for before your child will be absent and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Your child’s Headteacher has the final say over whether to approve the request and how long your child can be absent. Their decision will be made after considering the specific facts and circumstances behind your request.

Can I take my child on holiday during term time?

Parents should plan their holidays around school breaks and avoid requesting leaves of absence for holidays, unless it is unavoidable. As leave of absence is only granted in exceptional circumstances, it is unlikely that your child’s Headteacher will agree to a leave of absence for a family holiday. If permission is refused, and you keep your child off school on the days requested, you are likely to be committing an offence and be issued a fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted by your Local Authority.

Where can I get support to help my child attend school?

Children may struggle to attend school for a wide range of reasons. If your child is struggling to attend school, both their school and your Local Authority also have responsibilities to help you to support your child’s attendance. In most cases, if your child’s attendance level is falling, their school will contact you to explore the reasons and discuss what help can be put in place to help you overcome the barriers they are facing. If your child is struggling to attend school, you can expect the school to meet with you, and your child if they are old enough. The school will want to understand the reasons for their absence and what support you, or they need to overcome the barriers to attendance they are experiencing.

If the barriers to your child’s attendance are in school – such as if they are having friendship problems – the school is responsible for working with you to help overcome the issues.

If the barriers to attendance you or your child are facing go beyond the remit of the school – such as transport or a mental health issue – both the school and Local Authority have a responsibility to help you. This includes helping you to access the wider support you might need, for example from the school nurse or from local housing or transport teams. As part of the conversation you have with your child’s school, you will agree a set of joint actions you will all take to help overcome any barriers to attendance. This agreement will often include a commitment to refer to or help you to access support services in exchange for an agreement from you to engage and take part in the support offered. They will also arrange mutually convenient times for you to come together to review these and your child’s progress. This agreement may take the form of an informal action plan, an early help plan, or a parenting contract – depending on the complexity of the reasons for your child’s absence.