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Fern Hill Primary School

Fern Hill Primary School

Absence from School

Attendance and Absence Policy Statement


Education provides a means of advancement for all young people. Pupils need to attend school regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them in law. Irregular attendance undermines the educational process and leads to significant educational disadvantage. Our Attendance Policy is available to read here.

Parents and the School

Under Section 36 of the Education Act 1944, parents of children of compulsory age are required to ensure that they receive full-time education, whether by regular school attendance or otherwise. Parents are thus primarily responsible for ensuring that children attend and stay at school. It is the responsibility of the school to support attendance and to take seriously any issues which may lead to non-attendance. Parents should ensure that their children arrive at school on time, properly attired and in a condition to learn.

Reporting absences

It is parents’ responsibility to inform the school by 8:30 am on the morning of the first and every subsequent day of their child’s absence. Parents are expected to contact the school either by email or by telephone to provide information as required. Where a child is ill, the school should be notified of the nature of the illness and, when this can be predicted, the date the child is expected to be able to resume his or her studies. Where irregular attendance of a registered pupil is causing concern, the Education Welfare Officer will be informed.


Pupils arriving late may seriously disrupt not only their continuity of learning but also that of others. Where pupils miss registration altogether and fail to provide an adequate explanation they will be marked as unauthorised absent even though they may arrive later. Where a pupil does arrive late they must report to the school office, who will note their attendance. If a child is genuinely unavoidably late because of difficulties at home or other circumstances the class teacher or Headteacher must be informed in writing. This schools’ Education Welfare Officer visits the school on a regular basis to check the registers for lateness and absence. If regular lateness or absence is noted, the Education Welfare Officer after consulting with the Headteacher will take appropriate action.

Planned absence

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent or carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment and produces evidence of the appointment. However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours when possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary. The pupil’s parent or carer must request other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible, including sitting entrance examinations, using the Request for School Absence for Exceptional Circumstances or Examinations forms available to download below or as a paper copy from the school office. 

Family bereavements

The death of a family member can be a particularly traumatic event in any young person’s life. The Headteacher must be notified and will treat any request for absence sympathetically.

Family holidays and extended trips during term time

Changes to the law which came in from September 2013 make it clear that Headteachers would not be expected to class any term time holiday as exceptional. 

Any absence from school will disrupt your child’s learning.  Children returning from a term time holiday are also unprepared for the lessons which build upon the teaching they have missed, and teachers have to give more time to help individual children catch up on missed work. This poses a risk of the under achievement of other children in the class. This is something we all have a responsibility in the school community to avoid.

Religious observance

Section 199 of the Education Act 1993 provides that an offence is not committed where the absence of a pupil of compulsory school age results from participation in a day set aside exclusively for religious observance by the religious body to which the parents belong. Such absences are classified as authorised absence. Parents should notify the school in advance of such an absence.

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