Absence and Illness Procedure
Children of school age who are registered at a school must, by law attend the school regularly. Regular attendance is important not just because the law requires it but to ensure children make the most of the educational opportunities available to them. There may be occasions where a child has to miss school when they are unwell but any other absences must be kept to a minimum.
All of a child’s absences from school are classified as either authorised or unauthorised.
An authorised absence is where legitimate reasons have been given to school and the absence is classed as unavoidable.
An unauthorised absence may be where no reason for the absence is offered to school, where a child plays truant or where the reason offered for the absence is not genuine or is avoidable.
Parents / carers are asked to contact school by letter, phone or in person to give a reason for any absence. Following this notification, we can only authorise an absence in genuine cases of;
- Emergency medical or dental appointments (evidence required)
- Hospital appointments (evidence required)
- Family emergency e.g. Death of a close family member
- Religious observances
Where a child’s attendance is of concern, school may also require evidence of sickness absence with a doctors note or appointment card / letter in order to authorise the absence.
Where we are unaware for the reason for your child’s absence, we will attempt to contact you by telephone to ascertain the reason for your child’s absence from school. Occasionally home visits may be used as well. We aim to check that you are aware that your child has not come to school (to avoid rare cases of truancy) and find out the reason why.
If your child is absent for a genuine reason, you must inform school as soon as possible.
Unacceptable reasons for absence may include but are not limited to;
- Shopping for clothes or shoes
- Illness of a sibling or parent
- Visiting relatives
- Non urgent medical treatment
- Unauthorised holidays
We will record such absences as unauthorised.
Receiving 10 or more unauthorised marks (1 school day = 2 marks) either through nonattendance, unauthorised holidays or lateness will now result in a fixed penalty notice fine of £60 under the Education Act of 1996 section 444(1)(a).
We also operate attendance ‘fast track’ procedures against parents who consistently do not send their children to school with enough regularity which involve meetings with an Education Welfare Officer and a time period to make improvements.
Family Holidays and Leave of Absence
Parents should avoid taking their children out of school during term time to go on holiday. Legislation surrounding term time holidays changed as of the 1st of September 2013. Parents have no entitlement to take their child on holiday in term-time. Any application for leave must only be in exceptional circumstances and the head teacher must be satisfied that the circumstances are exceptional and warrant the granting of leave.
Head teachers would not be expected to class any term-time holiday as exceptional. Parents can be fined by the local authority for taking their child on holiday during term-time without consent from the school.
There may be instances whereby the Headteacher may authorise a leave of absence under ‘exceptional circumstance’. Parents should understand that this is not granted as a right. Each case is considered on its own merits and will only be granted if these exceptional circumstance can clearly be shown.
All applications for exceptional leave should be submitted to the Headteacher in writing, clearly outlining why the request is considered exceptional. Any supporting evidence such as medical certificates, death certificates, doctors notes etc. must be copied and included.
Examples of exceptional circumstances may be;
- A parent, grandparent or close relative is seriously ill, or a death in the immediate family.
- A significant trauma or upheaval in the family recently.
- A charitable respite care holiday, for a family with a disabled child.
This is not an exhaustive list as each case would be judged on its own merits. However, in all cases, convincing verification and evidence of the reason would be expected to be supplied to the Headteacher.
Exceptional circumstances do NOT include;
- Because a holiday is cheaper in term time
- A parents or relative’s employer will not grant leave during the holidays
- The accommodation wanted is not available in the school holidays
- Poor weather during the school holidays
- Not all family members booking to travel together can get leave in school holidays
- Overlap with the beginning or end of term
- Not having had a family holiday for a long time
- Visiting relatives in foreign countries
- Having already booked the holiday
The Headteacher will also look very carefully at;
- The child’s previous attendance record and should there be a cause for concern e.g. Childs attendance is below 95% (even with medical reasons) it is highly unlikely that any further absence, even for exceptional reasons will be authorised.
- The effect on the pupil’s education, especially if leave is at the beginning of term, near to tests / SATS or other significant school events.
- Whether your child has missed school because of leave in the past.