Attendance - FAQs
What is an unauthorised absence and why does it matter to me?
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age are receiving suitable full-time (25-hours) education.
Unauthorised absences we do not consider reasonable and for which the school has not given leave. They include such things as parents keeping children off school unnecessarily; truancy; absences not properly explained. If your child is on an attendance plan because we already have concerns over their attendance, then odd days off for sickness will be marked as unauthorised. We would need an official notice from your doctor or medical team for us to authorise further absences related to medical issues.
Unauthorised absences exceeding 5 days (or 10 sessions) will result in a referral to the Education Welfare Service and or Children and Families at the Local Authority. This could result in a penalty notice being issued and/or a police interview under caution leading to a conviction of an offence of failing to ensure regular attendance of your child at school under Section 444(1)/(1A), of the Education Act 1996, and a fine of up to £2,500
What action should I take if my child is too unwell to attend school?
All absences must be reported by 08:00am daily. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly and punctually. Telephone the school 0115 748 3410 and leave a message including: Your name, your child’s name, tutor group and reason for absence or email our email@example.com. Medical evidence such as, a prescription, proof of appointment will be required to authorise an absence. Reporting an absence does not mean it will be authorised.
Should I keep my child off for 48 hours following sickness and diarrhoea?
We do not apply a blanket 48 or 24 hour quarantine period. The most likely time for a child to be contagious is before they display symptoms of illness. If your child has been sick and you feel that they are sufficiently well to come to school, then please send them in.
I can't provide medical evidence because it's impossible to get a GP appointment.
Wherever possible, we will request medical evidence. If your child is off for 3 consecutive days, we will expect a GP visit. If your child has had several shorter absences for the same condition, we will also expect a GP visit. Medical evidence makes the difference between authorised absence and unauthorised absence. We do not pursue legal intervention where medical evidence is provided. It’s as important for you as it is for us.
I do not like being challenged regarding my child's absences and reserve the right to make the decision as to whether my child is well enough to attend school.
We are sorry you feel that way but please bear in mind that our team are simply doing their jobs in complying with school rules and statutory guidance. It’s not personal and ultimately, we can offer a multitude of support to help your child’s attendance improve and safeguard their future success. Remember, we care.
Why do I have to tell you the details when my child is unwell?
Firstly, your conversation with us is confidential. We do not share details with the wider school community. We do need to keep accurate records, but we need to know exactly what’s wrong so that we can offer the right level of support and guidance. We care for every aspect of your child’s health and wellbeing from migraines to mental health. Good communication will help us to help you.
Why do I need to call school every day when my child is absent?
Put simply, we have a duty of care and cannot assume that your child is at home. A daily call to us will give both school and home the confidence of knowing that your child is safe.
I cannot take your calls or make meetings due to work commitments.
We will endeavour to work around your schedule in the interest of your child. Conversations and face to face meetings are important in building relationships. Family dynamics are unique and so are the interventions we can put in place to help your child to overcome barriers to attendance. Please do not ignore our attempts to contact you, if you can not answer the phone when we call, we will leave a brief message and ask that you call us back.
My child's attendance has dropped, but you want to meet me to discuss this matter. You know why they can't attend, what is the point of this meeting?
Our meetings are intended to be supportive. We have staff in school who can support you and your child. If you are seeking external help it’s important to send in your appointment letters and stay in touch.
My child seems ill but I do not think it is severe enough to not attend school. What should I do?
Colds, headaches, stomach pains, etc affects us all but not to the point that we need to miss school or work. If your child seems a little under the weather but not really ill enough to keep them off school, then please do send them in. If they are struggling to manage the day, we will look to contact you and arrange to send them home. A child sent home by school will have their absence recorded as authorised. Medication, both prescription and non-prescription, can be left with the Head of Year if your child should need it during the day.
My child has a broken/sprained leg and or arm. What should I do?
A child who has an injury, such as a sprained ankle, can be allowed out of lesson five minutes early and can use the lifts. Further to this we have a number of staff that are trained in first aid and who are able to support if there is an emergency. We can also arrange for a place inside to sit and break and lunch and ensure the limb is kept elevated. Laptops can be provided to support in lessons if needed.
My child has a medical appointment, what should I do?
Students are only allowed to leave school site in exceptional circumstances. Appointments should be made out of school hours wherever possible. Routine Optician appointments will not be authorised under any circumstances as these can be easily made at weekends and out of school hours.
If it is not possible to book a medical appointment out of school hours, please inform Mrs J Steeples in advance by calling 0115 748 3410 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide evidence of the appointment. Appointments attended in school time without advance notice and medical evidence supporting with be classed as unauthorised. Parent/Carers must ring at the time of leaving to confirm their child can be released from school. When parents take students out of school without permission it will be recorded as unauthorised and means parents may be liable for a fine.
I want to take my child out of school during term time what should I do (holidays, medical treatment abroad, return to home country)?
The law states that you do not have the right to take your child out of school during term time. The Local Education Authority works with schools to reduce the numbers of children missing school because of leave taken in term time, including family holidays, and we will not authorise any absence where children miss school unless there are exceptional circumstances. Such unauthorised absences of 3 days or more will lead to the school requesting that the Local Authority issue a penalty notice. We advise that you do not plan for your child to be absent from school without gaining prior agreement from the school first by contacting Mrs J Steeples by calling 0115 748 3410 or emailing email@example.com. We cannot retrospectively authorise absence from school under any circumstances. If your request is authorised, you are required to ensure your child catches up on any missed school work. This is your responsibility and school are not obliged to provide work for your child. If after consideration, the school refuse your application for leave and you still take your child out of school, the absences will be treated as unauthorised. This is not a decision that the school will take lightly, and the full context of the situation will be thoroughly considered before making such a decision.
Please note that if a student is out of school for more than 20 days, they will be taken off the school roll and will need to reapply for a place via the Local Authority. There is no guarantee they will get their place back as several year groups are oversubscribed.
Why have I received a visit from the Academy at my home address?
Where parents fail to inform the Academy of a reason for a student’s absence and we have been unable to obtain a reason via phone call, email or text message, we may visit the home address to safeguard our students. Any student having three consecutive days of absence will receive a home visit and/or safe and well call.
My child claim they are ill but I don't think it is genuine, what should I do?
Sometimes your child may want to avoid school. This may indicate there are wider issues that need addressing. Send your child to school and contact your child’s Head of Year about the situation by calling Reception on 0115 748 3410. It is always much better to share any concerns as early as possible. On occasions some students struggle with a range of medical or mental health issues which affects their ability to come to school. On other occasions there may be issues with other students or worries with a member of staff that means as students does not want to attend. If left these types of issues can develop into deep and troubling school refusal. The fear of penalty notices can also add to any existing worries. Our advice here is to work closely with us and to do so from the moment you first become concerned. If we can build a strong relationship with you and your child we are more likely to work successfully through difficulties.
When students are taken out of school by parents without permission it is an unauthorised absence and may leave parents liable for a penalty notice (fine) from the Local Authority. Please note that if a student is out of school for more than 20 days, they will be taken off the school roll and will need to reapply for a place via the Local Authority. There is no guarantee they will get their place back as several year groups are oversubscribed.
My child is just having an 'off day', can I just keep them off?
Having sporadic days off school can quickly add up. We always want to encourage pupils to attend, sometimes getting out of bed, showering and putting on a uniform is all it takes to feel a little better. Coming to school on days when you don’t really feel like it can make a big difference. We will always send pupils home if they are genuinely unwell.