Absence and Attendance
For further information on absence and attendance please see below.
Registration is completed electronically using the Schools Information Management System (SIMS). At 8.30am every student is either marked present or marked absent. Afternoon registration takes place at the start of Period 5 and is completed by the subject teacher.
Parents are asked to contact the school between 8.00am and 8.45am on the first day of absence through illness. For all absences, a letter is required from the student’s parent/carer on his/her return to school confirming the period of absence and the reason for it.
The school has in place a system of first-day calling. If a student is absent without explanation, parents will be telephoned by the attendance officer to establish a reason for the absence. This will identify at an early stage those students who do not have a legitimate reason for absence or who may be absent without their parents’ knowledge. If the attendance officer is satisfied that the absence is legitimate and the reason is adequate, the absence will be marked in the register as authorised. If the school does not receive a satisfactory explanation for the absence, the matter is referred to the Head of Year (HoY) or the Pastoral Support Coordinator (PSC) for the relevant year group. The absence will then be investigated and, where no satisfactory explanation is obtained, it will be recorded as unauthorised.
In the case of extended periods of absence or short but frequent absences, due to ill health, the school may request that parents supply supporting medical evidence in order to verify those absences. Such evidence may be in the form of a GP or surgery stamp on a compliments slip or an appointment slip. Where appropriate, the school may also seek parental consent in order to refer the student concerned to the School Nurse.
When a student is legitimately absent from school for a long period, the HoY/PSC will arrange with the student's subject teachers for appropriate work to be set. Work will not normally be provided for students who are going on holiday during term-time.
If the student arrives after the register has been marked, but between 8.30am and 8.45am, they will be marked as late. When a student arrives later then 8.45am, s/he must sign in the Late Log, stating the time of his/her arrival and a reason for arriving late. If the reason is due to a medical appointment, they should provide the receptionist with a note from a parent/carer so that the register can be marked accordingly. The late log will be monitored on a daily basis.
In the event that a student has to leave school during the day, he/she will be required to provide a letter or a note in the planner from a parent/carer identifying the date, time, duration and reason for the planned absence. If a child is leaving the site unaccompanied, parents must stipulate that they have permission to do so. This note must then be countersigned by the student’s form tutor or, in their absence, the relevant Pastoral Support Coordinator. Where a child has to leave school during a lesson, he/she must show this note to the class teacher before reporting to reception.
Before being given permission to sign out and leave the site, all students are required to report to the school reception where they must hand in their countersigned letter to a member of the office staff. Parents/carers who have notified the school of a planned absence by telephone or email will, if their child does not have a signed letter confirming this arrangement, be required to sign their child out in person.
In the event that there is any doubt about a student’s request to leave the school site during the day, verification will be sought from parents/carers by telephone.
School attendance is subject to statutory regulations and parents have a legal duty to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. There must be an unavoidable cause to justify any absence from school. A child’s illness should normally be the only reason for absence. Nothing undermines a child’s educational progress more than frequent absences.
Parents are asked to contact the school by telephone, letter or e-mail whenever their child is absent. Telephone calls must be confirmed by a letter when the child returns to school. If a child is absent and no reliable information has been received the School Office will contact the parents. If the school does not receive a satisfactory explanation for the absence, the matter is referred to the Head of Year (HoY) or the Pastoral Support Co-ordinator (PSC) for the relevant year group.
Leave of Absence
In accordance with the amendments made to the 2006 regulations in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
For illustrative purposes, the following circumstances may be considered by the school to be exceptional:
• leave requested for the purposes of religious observance, which may include the celebration of a festival or attendance at a ceremony;
• leave requested when a family needs to spend time together in order to support each other during or after a crisis;
• leave requested by service personnel and other employees who are not permitted to take leave outside term-time;
• leave requested for one-off special occasions such as the wedding of a close family member or the graduation of an older brother or sister;
• leave requested for a student who has qualified to participate in an event organised by a national body.
The regulations stipulate that every request received must be considered on an individual basis. Even in the case of exceptional circumstances, the school must determine whether to approve the absence or not. In making this decision, primary consideration will be given to the student’s attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed schooling, followed by the frequency of the request, the nature of the event for which leave is sought and whether the parent has given advance notice.
Parents wishing to request leave of absence for a child must do so in writing using the appropriate form. Completed forms (a separate form for each child) must be submitted to the child’s Head of Year well in advance of the dates for which leave is requested.
Absences other than for sickness, where leave of absence has not been authorised in advance, have to be regarded as unauthorised and must be reported as such. Parents and carers are strongly advised to apply for leave of absence before they confirm any arrangements.
Any leave of absence taken without the Headteacher’s consent will be counted as unauthorised absence. The Department for Education is clear that there is no parental right to take a family holiday in term time and factors such as cost, experiences for the child, weather and overlapping with school holidays are not grounds upon which to authorise leave of absence.
Copies of the relevant Department for Education (DfE) regulations are available on request. Further information is available on the DfE website.
Using the powers granted to headteachers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, the school may issue a Penalty Notice if parents fail to secure their child’s regular attendance at school. Either or both parents (and anyone else with parental responsibility or having day-to-day care of the child) may be issued with a notice of a penalty of £120 if paid within 28 days from the date of posting (£60 if paid within 21 days). If payment is not made, the local authority is required, by law, to commence proceedings in the Magistrates' Court for the original offence or poor school attendance.
If convicted of this offence under the Education Act 1996 there are a number of possible sentences, including a fine of up to £1,000 (in the case of a prosecution under section 444(1)) or a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a period of up to 3 months’ imprisonment (in the case of a prosecution under section 444(1A)).
In most situations, the parent/carer will be given a written warning of the possibility of a Penalty Notice being issued. However, a Penalty Notice may be issued for a first offence in exceptional circumstances, such as when a parent takes a child on holiday during term-time without prior authorisation by the school. Before booking a holiday in term-time, parents must ensure that the school will be prepared to authorise the absence. Without this authorisation, a Penalty Notice may be issued without further warning.
There is further guidance from Hampshire County Council here.
Students Absence Statistics
The school is required to publish the statistics regarding student absence.