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“Let Your Light Shine!” - Matthew 5:16

Shirley Avenue




BD19 4NA


Attendance Policy

We respect and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness, supporting each other so that we can reach our full potential.

We show love for each other through acts of friendship and forgiveness.

We show resilience so that we feel confident to face any challenge.

By being the best we can be, we all shine brightly making our world a better place.

The Bible quote that underpins our vision is ‘Let your light shine’

Matthew 5:16

Attendance Policy: 2023

How this policy links to our vision:

In order for pupils to be the best they can be it is essential that they have good attendance. This not only supports their academic success, but also promotes mental and emotional support essential to wellbeing.


The designated leader with overall responsibility for improving attendance is Jane Barker (Headteacher).

Develop a whole-school culture that promotes the benefits of high attendance supported by ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ DfE September 2022

Gomersal St Mary’s CE Primary School recognises the importance of embedding attendance into our ethos and culture.

1: Aims

Our school aims to meet its obligations with regards to school attendance by:

  • Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence
  • Ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled
  • Acting early to address patterns of absence

We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure their children of compulsory school age attend regularly, and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

2: Legislation and guidance

3: School procedures 3.1 Attendance register

By law, all schools (except those where all pupils are boarders) are required to keep an attendance register, and all pupils must be placed on this register.

The attendance register will be taken at the start of the first session of each school day and once during the second session. It will mark whether every pupil is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Any amendment to the attendance register will include:

  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment

See appendix 1 for the DfE attendance codes.

Every entry in the attendance register will be preserved for 3 years after the date on which the entry was made.

Years 1 – 6:

Pupils must arrive in school by 8.30am on each school day.

The register for the first session will be taken at 8.30am and will be kept open until 8.45am. The register for KS1’s second session will be taken at 12.15pm. The register for KS2’s second session will be taken at 1.00pm


Pupils must arrive in school by 8.30am on each school day.

The register for the first session will be taken at 8.30am and will be kept open until 8.40am. The register for Reception’s second session will be taken at 12.15pm


Pupils must arrive in school by 8.30am on each school day.

The register for the first session will be taken at 8.30am and will be kept open until 8.45am. The register for Nursery’s second session will be taken at 12.00 and will be kept open until 12.15pm.

3.2 Unplanned absence

Parents must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence – for example, if their child is unable to attend due to ill health – by 9.15 or as soon as practically possible. This can be done via phone or email.

Absence due to illness will be authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask parents to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be notified of this in advance.

3.3 Medical or dental appointments

Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is counted as an authorised absence; advance notice is required for authorising these absences.

However, we encourage parents to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

Applications for other types of absence in term time must also be made in advance. Information relating to whether the school can authorise such absences can be found in section 4.

3.4 Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives late but before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code.

A pupil who arrives after the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code.

3.5 Following up absence

The school will follow up any absences to ascertain the reason, ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary, identify whether the absence is approved or not and identify the correct attendance code to use.


  1. texts go to families to request an explanation for absence
  2. follow up phone calls
  3. emergency contacts are called
  4. home visits will take place
  5. if no response a slip will be left at the house and a text will be sent informing the parent/carer of the visit
  6. the police may be contacted to initiate a ‘safe and well’ check using the 101 number

This links to the Safeguarding policy:

  • Other agencies may need to be aware of the absence
  • Repeated absences may lead to further agency involvement, eg Early Help, Kirklees Education Safeguarding Team, Social Care

3.6 Reporting to parents

Families are informed termly of their child’s attendance. A figure is inserted in their end of year report. If there are concerns about attendance (below 90%) then a letter is sent to the family to highlight this.

4: Authorised and unauthorised absence 4.1 Granting approval for term-time absence

Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence to pupils during term time unless they consider there to be ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the headteacher’s discretion.

Valid reasons for authorised absence include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments – as explained in sections 3.2 and 3.3
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong. If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart. Three days leave of absence are permitted within a 12-month period where a religion other that Christianity is practised and the day falls on a usual school day.
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a Traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision
  • Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.
  • The death or terminal illness of a close relative, only if the Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional.
  • Out of school programmes such as music, arts or sport operating at a high standard of achievement. Documentary evidence of this event will be required.
  • To attend a wedding or funeral of a close relative if the headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional.
  • Where there are exceptional and unforeseen circumstances that fall outside of the above, the Headteacher reserves the right to authorise if they feel the circumstances justify it.
  • Applications for periods of absence can be made by either completing a form that can be collected from the school office or via the website.

Leave of absence requests:

If a parent/carer wishes to request a term time leave of absence then they need to complete a form which can be accessed through the school office or on the website.

This will always be registered as unauthorised unless exceptional circumstances are given proving this leave of absence needs to be taken in term time.

If the amount of leave of absence taken in the school year exceeds 5 consecutive days then a penalty notice will be issued. The Penalty Notice is £60 for each parent of each child if paid within 21 days, and £120 after 21 days but before 28 days.

Each parent will be issued with the fine regardless of whether they attend the leave of absence.

4.2 Legal sanctions

Schools can fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age.

A penalty notice is issued to each parent of each child.  This is for £60 if it is paid within the first 21 days, increasing to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice follows the local authority’s code of conduct for issuing penalty notices. This may take into account:

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as leave of absences taken in term time without permission
  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute the parent or withdraw the notice.

Failure to pay the penalty notice could result in the local authority commencing legal proceedings against you for the offence of not ensuring your child’s regular school attendance.  If found guilty, you may be fined up to £1,000 and you will receive a criminal record. 

Where there may be repeated offences of leave of absence, this may result the matter being directly prosecuted in Kirklees Magistrates’ court.

A parent/carer is unable to challenge a penalty notice.

Suspended Pupils:

If a pupil has been suspended or excluded, that pupil may not be in a public place during the period of suspension/exclusion without just cause (such as attending a medical appointment).  If that pupil is seen in a public place, a penalty notice is issued to each parent of each child.  This is for £60 if it is paid within the first 21 days, increasing to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days.  Failure to pay the penalty notice could result in the local authority commencing legal proceedings against you for the offence of not ensuring your child’s regular school attendance.  If found guilty, you may be fined up to £1,000 and you will also receive a criminal record.

5: Lates

Pupils are recorded as L(late) if they arrive between 8.45am and 9.15am. If a pupil arrives after 9.15am this is recorded as an unauthorised late which affects a child’s attendance percentage the same way as if they were absent.

6: Strategies for promoting attendance

Half termly meetings between the Office Manager, Headteacher and pastoral team monitor the attendance percentages of all pupils. If the percentage falls below 90% with no clear reason a letter is sent home to make families aware of this. Conversations may then need to take place to promote strategies to improve attendance.

7: Attendance monitoring

The attendance team (Headteacher, Pastoral Lead and Office Manager) monitors pupil absence on a half termly basis. A spreadsheet is maintained highlighting % attendance for all pupils who have reached 90% or below at any point throughout the year. The outcome is then used to contact parents/carers where there is an issue with attendance. This is done via letter. We also contact parents/carers where there is an improvement if there has previously been a cause for concern.

8: Persistent Absence:

The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a pupil’s individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the pupil will be classified as a persistent absentee.

Children whose attendance is less than 90% are referred to as ‘Persistent Absentees’ by the DfE. School staff may then begin a programme of monitoring and support:

  • A letter is sent to the parent/carer highlighting the % attendance and the need for this to improve.
  • Depending on the reasons of absence the pastoral lead may become involved and interventions such as a TAF maybe instigated.
  • Each half term the attendance of all children is reviewed by school staff.
  • Further letters are issued highlighting attendance below 90%, improvements in attendance (but not yet 90%) or improvements to above 90%.
  • If the percentage has improved to above 90%, the child is removed from the monitoring spreadsheet.

If the percentage remains below 90%, the parent/guardian is invited to a meeting with school staff to discuss the absences further where more formal actions are outlined. At this time, if appropriate, a referral to social care may be made.

There must be a clear and obvious route of progression. A school attendance improvement contract will be offered. This could be through a TAF.  Where there is persistent failure to adhere to a plan to improve attendance, legal action may be considered.

An Education Supervision Order is heard in Family Court.  If granted, the order is for 12 months with the option of renewing for an additional 24 months.  The parent will be assigned a Supervising Officer who will oversee the order; and the pupil will be assigned a Befriender who will advise, assist and guide the pupil.

If legal action is approved by the Kirklees Legal Intervention Panel, the matter is heard in the Magistrate’s Court for the offence of knowingly failing to ensure your child’s regular school attendance (s444(1)(a) Education Act 1996). If found guilty, this carries a penalty of up to £2,500 or up to 3 months imprisonment and guardians will receive a criminal record. Additionally, other community orders may be attached. The appropriate course of action will be decided by the Kirklees Legal Intervention Panel.

We compare our attendance data to the national average, and share this with governors. All attendance data is stored on Integris G2. It is accessed for attendance data analysis. This could be to monitor overall attendance for attendance meetings, Governor HT reports or for safeguarding meetings/SW requests.

Child Missing Education

In Children Missing Education – Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (2016), children missing education are defined as those who are not on a school roll or receiving suitable education otherwise than at school. Those who are regularly absent or have missed 10 school days or more without permission may be at risk of becoming ‘children missing education’. These are identified through monitoring of registers via the office and class teacher.

9: Roles and responsibilities 9.1 The governing board

The governing board is responsible for monitoring attendance figures for the whole school on at least a termly basis. It also holds the headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy.

9.2 The headteacher

The headteacher is responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented consistently across the school, and for monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors.

The headteacher also supports other staff in monitoring the attendance of individual pupils and issues fixed-penalty notices, where necessary.

9.3 Class teachers

Class teachers are responsible for recording attendance on a daily basis, using the correct codes, and submitting this information to the school office.

9.4 Office staff

Office staff are expected to take calls from parents about absence and record it on the school system.

10: Links to Other Policies

  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy (to ensure our pupils are safe out of school)
  • Behaviour Policy (this can be linked to attendance concerns)

Appendix 1: attendance codes

The following codes are taken from the DfE’s guidance on school attendance.





Present (am)

Pupil is present at morning registration


Present (pm)

Pupil is present at afternoon registration


Late arrival

Pupil arrives late before register has closed


Off-site educational activity

Pupil is at a supervised off-site educational activity approved by the school


Dual registered

Pupil is attending a session at another setting where they are also registered



Pupil has an interview with a prospective employer/educational establishment


Sporting activity

Pupil is participating in a supervised sporting activity approved by the school


Educational trip or visit

Pupil is on an educational visit/trip organised, or approved, by the school


Work experience

Pupil is on a work experience placement




Authorised absence


Authorised leave of absence

Pupil has been granted a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances



Pupil has been excluded but no alternative provision has been made


Authorised holiday

Pupil has been allowed to go on holiday due to exceptional circumstances



School has been notified that a pupil will be absent due to illness


Medical/dental appointment

Pupil is at a medical or dental appointment


Religious observance

Pupil is taking part in a day of religious observance


Study leave

Year 11 pupil is on study leave during their  public examinations


Gypsy, Roma and Traveller absence

Pupil from a Traveller community is travelling, as agreed with the school

Unauthorised absence


Unauthorised holiday

Pupil is on a holiday that was not approved by the school


Reason not provided

Pupil is absent for an unknown reason (this code should be amended when the reason emerges, or replaced with code O if no reason for absence has been provided after a reasonable amount of time)


Unauthorised absence

School is not satisfied with reason for pupil’s absence


Arrival after registration

Pupil arrived at school after the register closed





Not required to be in school

Pupil of non-compulsory school age is not required to attend


Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

School site is closed, there is disruption to travel as a result of a local/national emergency, or pupil is in custody


Pupil not on admission register

Register set up but pupil has not yet joined the school


Planned school closure

Whole or partial school closure due to half-term/bank holiday/INSET day