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Whiteparish All Saints

CE Primary School

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Attendance Information

Whiteparish All Saints Primary School works hard to ensure that all pupils progress academically and socially at school. High levels of attendance and punctuality are essential for pupils to get the most out of their school experience, including their attainment, well-being and wider life chances. It is for this reason that we set our ambitious school target of 97% attendance during the academic year to help ensure pupils do not miss key learning opportunities and are able to make good progress as a result of regularly attending school. To reach this target pupils cannot miss more than 5 days during an academic year. We therefore regularly monitor the attendance of all of our pupils. Where the attendance of individual pupils becomes a concern, we will endeavour to work as closely with parents as possible to find solutions and a positive way forward.


National research shows that pupils with the highest attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) have higher rates of attendance over the key stage compared to those with the lowest attainment. Pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics had an overall absence rate of 4.7%, compared to 3.5% among those meeting the expected standard. Moreover, the overall absence rate of pupils not meeting the expected standard was higher than among those meeting the higher standard (4.7% compared to 2.7%). [1]


[1] Data from National end of Key Stage 2 results 2018-19, cited in DfE document Working Together to Improve School Attendance May 2022

This attendance policy closely follows the Department for Education (DfE) guidance ‘Working together to improve school attendance,’ and Local Authority (LA) guidelines for attendance.


There are two main categories of absence:


Authorised absence – when the school has accepted the explanation offered for the absence as a satisfactory justification for the absence, or given approval in advance for such an absence.

Unauthorised Absence – is when the school has not received a reason for the absence or has not approved a child’s absence from school after a parent’s request. Please be aware that when a parent telephones the school with information that their child is unable to attend due to illness or other circumstances, this may not automatically be authorised.


Parents are expected to:

  • Ensure their child attends everyday the school is open except when a statutory reason applies.
  • Notify the school as soon as possible when their child has to be unexpectedly absent (e.g. sickness).
  • Only request leave of absence in exceptional circumstances and do so in advance.
  • Book any medical appointments around the school day where possible.[1]

Every child has a right to access the education he/she is entitled. Parents and teachers share the responsibility for supporting and promoting excellent school attendance and punctuality for all. Every opportunity will be used to convey to children and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.  As a parent/carer you have a legal duty to make sure your child receives a full-time education and comes to school regularly. If you are finding it difficult to get your child to school you must speak to the class teacher and/or Mr James, Headteacher and Attendance lead. We will be able to help you.


Family Holidays and School Holidays

Children have 13 weeks annual holiday from school and school holiday dates are published well in advance online. As such all parents / carers are expected wherever possible to plan and take their family holidays at a time so as not to disrupt their children’s education. Education law states that parents do not have the right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. Only in exceptional circumstances may a headteacher grant permission for leave. Exceptional circumstances may include family trauma/bereavement, holidays for service personnel or prison visits to family members. If a family makes a request annually, this is not exceptional and will not be authorised.


Penalty Notices

Parents and carers who take their child out of school without the absence being agreed and authorised by written permission from the school can be issued with a penalty notice.

In line with Local Authority thresholds, Whiteparish All Saints Primary School will notify Wiltshire Local Authority to serve a Penalty Notice for unauthorised absence where the pupil has been:

Absent for 10 or more half day sessions (five school days) of unauthorised absence during a rolling 6-month period – these do not need to be consecutive.

Persistently late for up to 10 sessions (10 half day sessions) after the register has closed.

Where parents have made a request for a leave of absence and this has not been authorised. Parents will be advised that should they take this leave of absence it will be unauthorised and that they can be liable to the issue of a penalty notice by the Local Authority (where the unauthorised absence amounts to 10 sessions or more).

To be clear, the school, in line with other Salisbury schools will make referrals for the issuing of penalty notices/fines for cases of unauthorised absence (which may include family holidays) where the above thresholds are met. This will be in the sum of £120 per parent /carer for each child, but this is reduced to £60 per parent/carer for each child if paid within 21 days of issue.


Registration Process:

08:30am – Playground is supervised and the Year R gate is open.

08:40am – The bell will be rung on the school playground and the school day begins. Registration takes place in classrooms.

08:50am – Main school gate is closed. Any child arriving will need to go through the school office. Children arriving between 8:50-9:00am will be sent straight through to classes and registered in class.

9:00am – Any child arriving after this time will receive a late mark (after registers closed) on their attendance record. This is an unauthorised absence.

9:10am – The school office will follow up any unexplained absence with class teachers. If there has been no reason for absence communicated to the school the office will contact parents seeking an explanation for the absence.

10:00am – If no contact has been made regarding the child’s absence and staff have been unable to verify the child’s welfare via contacting any of the known contacts, the headteacher (DSL) or DDSL will be notified and it may be deemed necessary to visit the family home to confirm that the child is safe.


Persistent Absence – Since September 2015 the DfE has defined persistent absence as the attendance of a particular pupil which falls below 90%. Therefore, if a pupil misses 19 or more days over an academic year, they will be classed as ‘Persistently Absent’ regardless of the absence being authorised or unauthorised. If a pupil becomes persistently absent, parents will be contacted in writing, highlighting their child’s current rate of attendance. If there is no improvement then a meeting to discuss the pupil’s lack of attendance and what support can be put in place to improve this attendance will be held.


Monitoring and promoting good attendance

The governors and school leadership have a responsibility to monitor and evaluate attendance in the school.

Through promoting an exciting and engaging curriculum underpinned by positive and supportive relationships, school leaders will endeavour to make Whiteparish a school where every child wishes to attend.

Attendance figures are presented to governors at each Full Governing Body meeting.

Good attendance levels are celebrated through celebration worship, where good attendance is seen as allowing children to ‘shine their light to the world’.

The school will work alongside families to help support and encourage good attendance. This support may include the involvement of external agencies, such as the Education Welfare Officer (EWO).


As a parent how can you encourage good attendance?

Make sure that your child gets enough sleep and gets up in plenty of time each morning. Establish a morning routine that works for your family.

Ensure your child leaves home in the correct clothes and properly equipped. Show your child, by your interest, that you value their education.

Be interested in what your child is doing in school, chat to them about the things they have learnt, what friends they have made and even what they had for lunch.

Talking positively about the day ahead will ensure your child feels confident and in the right mindset to start their day.

Should a family be struggling to maintain good attendance, they should contact the school, so that the school can work collaboratively with the family to promote good attendance and try to address any barriers to a child having good attendance.


Through promoting good attendance, all children will progress well and ‘shine their light.’


[1] DfE Summary Table of Responsibilities for school attendance May 2022 page 4.