Attendance Policy

This policy is presented in HTML to support accessibility needs and to work across multiple platforms. A full PDF copy is also available below.
Date Approved - November 2022
Approved By - Chair of Governors
Review Frequency - Annual
Date of Next Review - November 2023
Full PDF Policy

History of Recent Policy Changes





Origin of Change

Sep 2021
Whole Document
Updated to reflect current national and local government policies and procedures 2021
Origin of Change
Nov 2022
Whole Document
Checked for accuracy and updated
Origin of Change


It is the aim of Heathfield Community School that students should enjoy learning, experience success and realise their full potential.

The school strives to provide a welcoming, caring, inclusive environment, whereby each member of the school community feels wanted and secure.

School staff will work with students and their families to seek to ensure each student attends school regularly and punctually.

Our Attendance Policy recognises that regular attendance has a positive effect on the motivation and attainment of students.


Our school aims to meet its obligations with regard to school attendance by promoting good attendance and acting early to address patterns of absence.

This policy sets out our school’s position on attendance and details the procedures that all parents must follow to report their child absent from school.

It is vital that children develop regular attendance habits.  Therefore, the school will encourage parents of compulsory school age to send their children to every session that is available to them.  If the child is unable to attend the school for any reason, the parent should inform the school of the reason on the first day of absence.  If the school is concerned about a student’s attendance for any reason, we will contact the parent to discuss the matter, in the first instance.

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.

Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence may seriously affect their learning.  The Department for Education (DfE) defines a student as a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year, for whatever reason.

We want our students to attend school every day, unless they are really not well enough to.  We believe that children who attend school regularly are more likely to feel settled in school, maintain friendships, keep up with their learning and gain the greatest benefit from their education.  We want all our students to enjoy school, grow up to become emotionally resilient, confident and competent adults who are able to realise their full potential.  Regular attendance and punctuality is essential in the workplace, and children who are used to attending school on time, and on every occasion unless they are too unwell to attend, will be better prepared for the attendance expectations in the workplace.

We believe that one of the most important factors in promoting good attendance is the development of positive attitudes towards school.  To this end, we strive to make our school a happy and rewarding experience for all students, and to foster positive and mutually respectful relationships with parents.

By promoting good attendance and punctuality we aim to:

  • Make a good attendance and punctuality a priority for all those involved in the school community.
  • Raise our student’s awareness of the importance of good attendance and punctuality.
  • Provide support, advice and guidelines to parents, students and staff.
  • Work in partnership with parents.
  • Celebrate and reward good attendance and punctuality.
  • To make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with the school including students, parents/carers, teachers and governors with the aim of achieving maximum attendance.
  • To do everything possible to ensure every student has an attendance of 100%.  Annual targets for attendance are set by the Local Authority and recorded in the School Profile.
  • To maintain and improve the overall levels of attendance being achieved (data submitted to DfE termly).
  • To provide support, advice and guidance to parents/carers and students.
  • To further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school.
  • To reward excellent attendance and implement sanctions for poor attendance.
  • To promote effective partnerships with the Education Attendance Service and other services and agencies.
  • To recognise the needs of individual students when planning reintegration following significant periods of absence.
  • We are committed to promoting good attendance and tackling poor attendance using the statutory powers of the Local Authority, including the issuing of a penalty notice and prosecutions.

Roles and Responsibilities

Safeguarding and Attendance

Under section 7 of the Education 1996, parents/carers have a legal obligation to ensure that their child receives efficient full-time education suitable to the child’s age, ability, aptitude and to any special educational needs that he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise while the child is of compulsory school age.  Last Friday in June for Year 11 students.

Our school will monitor trends and patterns of absence for all students as a part of our standard procedures.  However, we are aware that sudden or gradual changes in a student’s attendance may indicate additional or more extreme safeguarding issues.  In line with government guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education, we will investigate and report any suspected safeguarding cases onto the relevant authorities.  As part of our safeguarding duty and our standard procedures, we will inform the Local Authority and/or the Police of the details of any student who is absent from school when the school cannot establish their whereabouts and is concerned for the student’s welfare.  This will be reported to the local authority via the current procedures for notifying that a Child is Missing in Education (CME).

Legislation and Guidance

This policy meets the requirements of the Working Together to Improve School Attendance 2022 school attendance guidance, from the Department for Education (DfE).  These documents are drawn from legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance including:

  • The Education Act 1996 (as amended).
  • The Education (Student Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016).
  • The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended in 2012 and 2013).

The DfE’s guidance on the school census explains the persistent absence threshold.  The DFE guidance states that if a pupils’ attendance is below 90% they are considered to be persistently absent.

Student Obligation

Students are required to attend school on time, to arrive at registration (morning and afternoon sessions), punctually and to sign in at Student Reception or at the Late Gate if late (before the register has closed).  The register is closed at 9.30am.  Thereafter lateness counts as a ‘U’code  =  which is an unauthorised absence.  The register is also taken at the start of the afternoon session.

The Governing Board

The Governing Board 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

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 students and requests fixed-penalty notices, where necessary.

Attendance Officer

  • Monitors attendance data at the school and individual student level.
  • Reports concerns about attendance to the Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as appropriate.
  • Arranges calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues.
  • Co-ordinates requests for term-time Leave of Absence.
  • Make referrals to the Education Safeguarding Service where appropriate.
  • Requests Penalty Notices for unauthorised term-time absence.

Present at School (and Lateness)

Students are marked present if they are in school when the register is taken.

It is the duty of parents to ensure that children attend school on time.  This encourages habits of good timekeeping and lessens any possible classroom disruption.

The Attendance Officer and/or Year Head will meet with parents of those students who are frequently late arriving at school to investigate reasons and suggest solutions to enable more punctual attendance.

Our students should arrive by 8.50am on each school day.

Students are expected to enter the school gates by 8.55am at the very latest in order to be present in their tutor room when registration starts at 9.00am

Our morning registration is taken at 9.00am and will be kept open until 9.30am.

If a student who arrives late, but before the register has closed, will be marked as late (L) – which counts as present.

If a student arrives later after the registers closes, they will be marked as absent.  If the student is late arriving due to a valid reason such as an unavoidable medical appointment, the absence will be authorised.  If the student is late for no good reason they will marked with the unauthorised absence code ‘Late after registers close’ (U).  See DfE Attendance Codes – Appendix One.

Penalty Notices and Prosectution

Parents/carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school on a regular basis.  It is a criminal offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to fail to secure regular attendance of a registered student at the school.  This applies to both resident and non-resident parents/carers who may both be subject to legal sanctions if their child fails to attend school regularly.  It also applies to others who may not be the parent/ carer, but may have day to day care of the child.

Unauthorised absence from school can result in a number of different outcomes for parents and children.  Each case is considered individually.

Under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, if a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered student at a school, fails to attend regularly at the school his/her parent(s) are guilty of an offence.  Parents/carers with more than one school aged child need to be aware that each child’s irregular attendance is dealt with as a separate matter.

The school will refer cases of unauthorised absence that meet the threshold, currently 10 unauthorised sessions in a 12 school week period, for a Penalty Notice to the Local Authority for legal action, unless there are reasonable grounds for not doing so.  The outcome of a referral to the Local Authority may be a Penalty Notice or Prosecution.

Penalty Notices are intended as a sanction for low level offences and a tool to support improved school attendance.  They are an alternative to prosecution and may not be issued if prosecution is considered to be a more appropriate response to a student’s irregular attendance.

A student’s unauthorised absence from school could result in one of the following:

A Penalty Notice.  The penalty is £60 payable within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.  (Failure to pay will result in prosecution).

Prosecution could lead to fines up to £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.  Penalty Notices and prosecution proceedings are issued to each parent with responsibility for the child and are issued for each child with irregular attendance.  For example, in the case of Penalty Notices, if two siblings had irregular school attendance, and there were two parents with responsibility for the children, four Penalty Notices would be issued.  Penalty Notices cannot be paid in instalments.

Authorised Absence

Authorised absence is where the school has either given approval in advance for a student of compulsory school age to be out of school or has accepted an explanation offered afterwards as a satisfactory justification for absence.  Heathfield School may request proof of medical if a student has more than 3 days illness or with attendance of below 96% with prior warning.

(16 year olds must legally attend school until last Friday in June of Year 11.  Study leave for Year 11 students only, at the discretion of the school, may be allowed once the GCSE examination period has started.)

Medical / Dental Appointments  –  appointment card required.

All other absences must be treated as unauthorised.

Parents/carers may not authorise any absence, only schools can do this.  Schools may authorise any absence, but inappropriate use of authorised absence can be as damaging to a child’s education as unauthorised absence.  All absences are treated as unauthorised until the school agrees on a satisfactory explanation.

The parent/carer may be required to provide the school with additional evidence in order to support their request.  If we have any concerns about possible safeguarding risks such as risk of FGM or Forced Marriage we will follow the necessary protocols. (Please see the school’s Safeguarding Policy for more information).

Unauthorised Absence

Only the school can approve absence, not parents/carers.  School staff need not accept a parental explanation for a child’s absence, whether written, telephoned or given in person.  If they doubt the explanation it is for the school to judge whether the explanation given is satisfactory justification for the absence.  Illness or unwell will not be a satisfactory explanation.

The school will involve the Education Safeguarding Service (ESS) if unauthorised absence appears to be a problem with a particular student this is normally after 10 unauthorised sessions but not always.

The school explains to parents/carers, through the Head’s introductory letter (at the beginning of each academic year) how parents/carers must notify the school of their child’s absence.  Parents/carers are required to do this on the FIRST DAY OF ABSENCE and every day of absence unless otherwise agreed.

Parents/carers need to telephone the school by 9.30am (01823 412396, then press 1) to inform the school of their child’s absence.

Registers are checked daily and if a reason has not been given for absence the parent/carer is phoned the same day.

Unauthorised absence is where a school is not satisfied with the reasons given for the absence.  Unauthorised absences may result in Legal Sanctions, usually Penalty Notices or Prosecutions.

Absence will be unauthorised if a student is absent from school without the permission of the school.  Whilst parents/carers can provide explanations for absences, it is the school’s decision whether to authorise the absence or not.

Unauthorised absence includes:

  • Absences which have never been properly explained.
  • Students who arrive at school after the register has closed.
  • Shopping.
  • Birthdays.
  • Waiting at home for maintenance reasons or a parcel to be delivered.
  • Day trips.
  • Long weekends and holidays in term time (unless very exceptional circumstances are agreed in writing, in advance by the school).
  • In the case of term time leave – if a student is kept away from school longer than was agreed, the additional absence is unauthorised.

Categories of Authorised Absence

Family holidays during term-time.  Parents/carers should not normally take students on holiday in term-time except in exceptional circumstances.

Somerset Local Authority Policy of Holidays in term time: Regulation 7 of the 2013 Pupil Registration Regulations.

Leave of absence may only be granted by an authorised person (Senior Leadership Team (SLT) on behalf of the school’s Governing Body).

  • If the school does not agree absence and the student goes on holiday, the absence is unauthorised and parents/carers could be subject to a Penalty Notice.  All Penalty Notice applications are discussed between the Attendance Officer, the staff member in charge of holidays, the Deputy Head (Pastoral) and the appropriate Year Head before applying to Somerset County Council for a fine to be issued.

Each case is considered in a consistent way on its own merit rather than a blanket approach.

  • If parents/carers keep a child away for longer than was agreed, any extra time is unauthorised.
  • Parents/carers must complete the ‘Term Time Leave Request Form before taking the holiday – within a minimum of 2 weeks before the holiday is taken.
  • The school may register the child as missing from education unless there is a good reason for the continued absence, following a term time leave absence, such as complex medical needs with medical reports provided.  The school will register a child as missing from education and have the right to remove from the school roll after 20 school days based on advice from the Local Authority.
  • Where absences become persistent parents/carers will be invited to discuss the situation with the Attendance Officer or Head of Year.
  • The school will work closely with parents to ensure that pupils are attending school regularly. Where this is falling the school will work with other agencies to help the pupil to attend on a regular basis. This is often successful in helping a pupil to overcome the issues stopping them attending school. However, when these strategies have not been successful, and the pupil is still not attending the school will work with the Education Safeguarding Service (ESS) to consider if there are any further strategies that can be used or whether prosecution should be considered. The decision to involve the ESS (usually via the Team Around the School – TAS) and consider prosecution is not taken likely and is done when all other avenues have been exhausted or there is none engagement from parents.

Approved Educational Activities Off-site

The absence of students to take part in supervised educational activities outside the school but authorised by the school is recorded as Authorised Holiday (Term Time Leave).

  • Dual registration arrangements with a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) (Medical Tuition provision).
  • Virtual learning classroom.
  • Field trips and educational visits.
  • Participation in or attendance at approved sporting activities.
  • Work Experience.
  • Extended Work Placement.
  • Interviews with prospective employers or for a place at further education (Year 11 only).
  • Alternative Provision whereby students attend an alternative education establishment or further education college for part of the week.
  • Students receiving part or all of their tuition off-site at another location while remaining under the overall supervision of Heathfield Community School.
  • Students receiving medical tuition / in hospital.

Temporary School Closures

For school days where the whole school has to close due to severe weather conditions (e.g. floods/snow), heating failure, fire or structural damage – no attendance registers are needed.

The school website, local T.V. and Radio will confirm if emergency enforced school closure takes place.

Deleting Students from the School Roll

A student can be removed from the school roll:

  • If moving to another area or school.

The school should find out the name and address of the new school and when the student will start.  Confirm this information with the receiving school.  When a school transfer form has been completed and Somerset LA have been informed the students name can be removed.

  • When a parent/carer informs the school IN WRITING that they are removing their child (it is incumbent on the school to inform the LA).  This includes Elective Home Education.
  • Permanent Exclusion.
  • Death of the child.

If a student does not return to school after a holiday or period of extended absence but none of the above apply, the school must take all reasonable steps to ascertain the whereabouts of the child.  When the ESS and school are satisfied that a significant period of time has lapsed – register CME 20 school days.

Heathfield Community School will never illegally off-role a student.  Off-rolling is the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without using a permanent exclusion, when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than the best interests of the pupil. This includes pressuring a parent to remove their child from the school roll.

Illness, Medical and Dental Appointments

Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is authorised absence.  Students should be encouraged to make appointments out of school hours.  Where possible parents/ carers should book appointments after 1.35pm.  School will request sight of an appointment card.  Students must ‘sign-out’ at the Student Reception desk.  This absence only covers a reasonable amount of time to travel to and from the appointment.

A record of students leaving or returning to site is kept at the Student Reception desk (in case of emergency).  Students must report to Student Reception on arriving late or leaving early.  Lateness must be recorded (both before and after the registration has closed).

If the authenticity of illness is in doubt, schools and ESS will consult the school health service or the students’ G.P.  Proof of medical advice will be sought from the family.  Proof of medical will be requested to continue to authorise absences.

The Disability Access Policy sets out guidelines for students who are absent due to CFS/M.E. or other long-term illness.

Parents/carers who have concerns about their child’s mental well-being can contact their Head of Year for further information.  We advise parents/carers also contact their GP.

Students Taken Ill During the School Day

If a student needs to be sent home due to illness, this should be by agreement with an appropriately authorised member of school staff, usually the Head of Year. In such circumstances, the student must be collected from the School Reception by a parent/carer or another authorised adult and signed out.  No student will be allowed to leave the school site without parental confirmation.

Religious Observance

Our school acknowledges the multi-faith nature of the school community and recognises that on some occasions, religious festivals may fall outside of school holidays and weekends.  In accordance with the law, the school will authorise one day’s absence for a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parent/carer belongs.  Should any additional days be taken, these will be recorded in the register as unauthorised absence.  If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body, to confirm whether the day is set apart.


A student excluded for a fixed period remains on roll and the absence should be treated as authorised as it results from a decision taken by the school.  Similarly, the absence of a permanently excluded student is treated as authorised while any review or appeal is in progress.

In the case of a permanent exclusion the student’s name should be removed from the school roll on the first school day after the day on which:

(i)         The independent appeal panel upholds the permanent exclusion.

(ii)        The independent appeal panel does not uphold the permanent exclusion but does not direct the student’s reinstatement.

(iii)       The prescribed period of logging an appeal has expired and the parent/carer has not lodged an appeal.

(iv)       The parent/carer has before the expiry of the prescribed period, advised the LA in writing that he/she does not intend to appeal.

In the meantime, the absence is to be recorded as authorised.

The school is responsible for setting work for an excluded student who remains on the school roll.

If a child is excluded and is found in a public place, during school hours Somerset County Council will issue a Penalty Notice in line with Somerset County Councils Code of Conduct, and Legislation sect 23 Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.  We will remind all parents/carers of this rule when confirming the exclusion in writing.

Traveller Child when the Family is Travelling

To help ensure the continuity of learning for Traveller Children, dual registration means that the school will not remove a Traveller Child from the school roll while they are travelling.

While the Traveller Child is away the school holds the place open for the duration agreed by parent/carer and school will record the absence as authorised.

Family Bereavement

The school will respond sensitively to requests to attend funerals or associated events and has the discretion to authorise such absences.  A Term Time Leave Form will be required prior to the absence.

Child Caring for a Sick or Disabled Family Member (Young carers)

In a genuine crisis the school can approve absence for a child to care for a relative until other arrangements can be made.  A time limit will be set for the absence and some school work so the student does not fall behind while at home.  Referral to outside agencies will be done sensitively – recognising that a child may fear being ‘put into care’ if the parent(s)/carer(s) is seen as unable to cope.

In the final analysis it is important to remember that in accordance with the Children’s Act 1989, the interests of the child are paramount.

Family Prison Visits

The school should authorise requests for absence which will enable a child to visit his or her parent/carer in prison, although it should not be authorised for the same day every week.

Pregnant Student

Support will be directed to keep the student in school where possible and to return to full-time education as soon as possible after the birth.

A girl who becomes pregnant should be allowed no more than 18 weeks authorised absence to cover the time immediately before and after the birth of the child.  After that time any absence should be treated as unauthorised, unless part of a planned phased return mutually agreed.

Special Occasions

The school will consider each request individually.  Only exceptional occasions warrant leave of absence.  For example, attending the wedding of an immediate family member would be acceptable but a day out of school for the student’s birthday or for shopping would not.  A term time leave request will be required to consider the request.

Public Performances Including Film or TV Work

The school may allow absence for a student to take part in a public performance.  Agreed participation will be considered and authorised if appropriate.  However, the potential impact on the student’s own learning and the learning of others will be the priority when coming to a decision.  A term time leave request with supporting evidence will be required.

Ethnic Minorities

The Equal Opportunities Policy (with Anti-Racist appendix) provides separate data for monitoring the attendance of all students on roll who have an ethnic minority background.


All teaching staff are obliged to follow the following procedures.

  • Mark the register at the beginning of the morning and afternoon sessions as well as each lesson (students are not allowed to mark the register under any circumstances).  Only use Present, L, N code.
  • A student arriving after 8.55am but before 9.30am must sign in at Student Reception.  This will be recorded as late.  The duty receptionist will be responsible for signing in a student who arrives AFTER 9.30am.  This student is recorded as ABSENT for the whole session and maybe recorded as a U code unauthorised.  The Year Head will receive a copy.
  • If a student is late, they will receive a lunchtime detention that day.
  • For 3 days absences without proof of medical the child may be marked as unauthorised.
  • If any reasons for absence are still outstanding by the end of 10 days the absence will be marked as unauthorised.
  • Form Tutor may not authorise a request for a holiday in term-time.  Students must be sent to collect a holiday form which needs to be signed by a parent/carer and returned to the attendance officer. This includes e.g. Friday afternoon session – for a long weekend request.

Post 16 Students

  • Post 16 students at THE SPACE will register at the beginning of each morning and afternoon.
  • Any student who is ill and unable to attend should telephone the dedicated absence line (01823) 412820 or email: [email protected]
  • Due to the nature of the courses which are production-led students are requested to avoid all absence in term-time, unless in very special circumstances e.g: bereavement, serious or contagious illness.
  • The tutor/ Head of Year will contact the parent/carer (students under age of 18) to set up a meeting should attendance fall below 96%.  Every attempt will be made to resolve the situation of low attendance.  However, if attendance is not resolved and if the commitment is not forthcoming the student may be asked to leave the course.  This will have a direct impact on parents’/carers’ benefits including Child Benefit and in some cases Tax Credits.
  • Any student in receipt of a Guaranteed or Discretionary bursary or travel subsidy must have 100% attendance or risk the withdrawal of payment(s).

YEAR HEADS  – Years 7 – 11

Year Heads are responsible for monitoring the attendance of each student in their year group by :-

  • Weekly tracking all students with below 96% attendance and/or any sessions of unauthorised absence.  This includes multi-professional attendance meetings and school letters.
  • If tutor contact has not improved attendance and/or no information has been received the Year Head will contact parents/carers when there has been no explanation of absence.  The decision to authorise an absence and to record this in the register rests solely with the school.  A parent/carer is unable to authorise the absence.  The reasons must be cogent and usually fall into one of the following categories:
    • illness
    • medical or dental
    • family bereavement
    • exceptional special occasions
    • limited unsupervised study leave (Year 11)
    • interviews  –  F.E. (or alternative provision)
    • child becoming carer on a temporary basis
    • fixed term or permanent exclusion
    • dual registration (e.g. PRU)
    • exceptional family holidays
    • traveller absence
    • pregnancy (tuition provided)
    • field trips
    • approved sporting activity
    • home tuition / medical tuition
  • Writing formally to parents/carers if absence falls below 96%.
  • Monitor attendance daily/weekly and send out additional letters.
  • Set up a Home School Agreement for attendance ‘attendance contract’ to outline expectations, targets and a reasonable timescale in which to achieve them.
  • Send SMS messages to parents/carers if the child has not attended school and no reason has been given or the reason has not been accepted.
  • Hold weekly attendance meetings with professionals
  • Providing a lesson attendance check card for suspected truants.
  • Requesting parent/carer to be included in the daily persistent non-attendance phone calls for students causing concern, pattern of non-attendance.
  • Attending case conferences / placement reviews for students not attending.
  • Providing information and being alert to students falling within the category of “school phobic” may include referral to SENCO and Educational Psychology Service if appropriate.
  • Rewarding good attendance – letters home.
  • Ensuring attendance is recorded on each Interim or Full Report (i.e. termly).
  • Team meetings with tutors.
  • Monitor punctuality to lessons and tutor time – letters to parents/carers where necessary.
  • Inviting parents/carers to attend a meeting regarding absence (attendance review) with the attendance officer.

Appendix 1

Attendance Codes

School Meaning
Statistical Meaning
Physical Meaning
Present (AM)
In for whole session
Present (PM)
In for whole session
Do Not Use
Unauthorised Absence
Late for session
Educated off site

(not dual reg)
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
Other authorised circumstances
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Dual registration
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Family holiday (not agreed)
Unauthorised Absence
Out for whole session
Family holiday (agreed)
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
Late (before registers closed)
Late for session
Medical/Dental appointments
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
No reason yet provided for absence
Unauthorised Absence
Out for whole session
Unauthorised Absence
Unauthorised Absence
Out for whole session
Approved sporting activity
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
Religious Observance
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Study leave
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Traveller absence
Authorised Absence
Out for whole session
Late (after registers closed)
Unauthorised Absence
Late for session
Educational visit or trip
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
Work Experience
Approved Educational Activity
Out for whole session
DFES: School closed to students
Attendance not required
Out for whole session
Enforced closure
Attendance not required
Out for whole session
Do not use
Attendance not required
Out for whole session
DFES: Non-compulsory school age abs
Attendance not required
Out for whole session
School closed to students and staff
Attendance not required
Out for whole session
DFES: Student not on roll
Attendance not required
Out for whole session

All should attend/No mark recorded
No mark
No mark for session

Appendix 2

Graduated Response Letters

  • Attendance Letter 1
  • Attendance Letter 2 – Medical
  • Attendance Letter 3
  • Penalty Notice letter
  • Table to accompany all Attendance letters
  • Term Time Leave Request Form

Examples can be requested from the school office

Term Time Leave Request Form

From September 2013 the Government has said schools may NOT grant ANY leave of absence during term time unless there are EXCEPTIONAL circumstances.


If the school refuses your request and the child is still taken out of school, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and noted on your child’s attendance record.

Name of student / students                                                                                                 Tutor Group


1 ………………………………….….……………………………………………………………….                     ……..………….


2 …………………………………….………………………………………….…………………….                     ………..……….

A request to be authorised as being absent from school

Dates  :   from …………………………………………………   to  ……………………………….……………..  (inclusive)

Exceptional Circumstances (please tick one).  These MAY be granted but this is not guaranteed.

  • Emergency service / forces personnel with proof of enforced holiday period.
  • Holiday industry employees with proof of this being the ONLY time period allowed by employer.
  • One transcontinental leave request per Key Stage for a very significant extended family event, including seeing and elderly/ seriously ill relative.

Please give more information :

Signature Parent/Carer ………………………………………………………………               Date ….……………

Please return this form to school well in advance of your proposed absence (minimum 2 weeks’ notice).

Not Authorised

Important Changes in Attendance Regulations

From 1st September 2013, any holidays taken during term time will NOT be authorised by the school.

This is because the Government has recently changed the law with regard to granting term time leave of absence, replacing the 2006 regulation that allowed schools to grant up to 10 days leave of absence at their discretion.

This means that from September 2013, schools may NOT grant ANY leave of absence during term time unless there are EXCEPTIONAL circumstances.

Exceptional Circumstances does NOT include :

  • Cheap holiday cost
  • Getting personal paperwork, visa’s updated (this should be planned into holiday periods)
  • Visiting relatives (this should be planned into holiday periods)

Exceptional Circumstances MAY include, but is not guaranteed for :

  • Emergency service / forces personnel with proof of enforced holiday period.
  • Holiday industry employees with proof of this being the ONLY time period allowed by employer.
  • One transcontinental leave request per Key Stage for a very significant extended family event, including seeing and elderly/ seriously ill relative

Regular time off for illness will be challenged, requiring not only medical evidence but also medical guidance on how schools can best support and ‘manage’ those children in school. Saying a child is “unwell” will no longer be enough, parents/carers will need to be specific.

Any time away from school can have a significant impact on educational attainment, success in later life and longer term health and well-being. In law, parents/carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child at school.

Therefore, any unauthorised absence in term time can result in the issuing of a Fixed Term Penalty Notice by the Education Attendance Service. Parents/carers will have 21 days to pay this £60 fine, after which it goes up to £120.

Examples of Penalty Fines

One parent/carer, one child                        £60

One parent/carer, two children                  £120

Two parents/carers, one child                    £120

Two parents/carers, two children              £240

Failure to pay a Fixed Term Penalty Notice within 28 days may result in a criminal conviction and a fine in the Magistrate’s Court of up to £1000.

A fixed Penalty Notice might also be issued if a child has 10 sessions or more unauthorised absences                          (1 session = am, 1 session = pm – one day = 2 sessions) and no satisfactory reason or explanation is given.

Where an absence is considered to be completely unavoidable, a term time leave request form is available from the office which must be completed and returned to Heathfield School as far in advance as possible (within 2 weeks).

If you have any concerns about the contents of this reply, please contact the school.

Somerset County Council will be supporting all schools in ensuring the law is upheld.

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Monkton Wood Academy
School Road
Monkton, Heathfield
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Monkton Wood Academy is proud to be part of the Cabot Learning Federation. 
Registered Company: Cabot Learning Federation
Company No: 06207590