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Abbotsbury Primary

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Attendance & Punctuality Policy

Abbotsbury Primary School Attendance / Punctuality Policy

At Abbotsbury Primary School we believe that children can only learn effectively if they attend school regularly.

It is important too, that children arrive and leave school on time. It is equally important that children should not be allowed at school if they are unwell. Our target for attendance is 95%. Rates of attendance are published in the school prospectus and the annual report to parents.

Abbotsbury Primary School is a happy school. Children learn best when they are happy and relaxed. All staff show concern and care about each child’s welfare.

As attendance is crucial to effective learning and the continuity of learning experiences school places great emphasis on this in its communication with parents. Every child’s attendance at school is important and it is in Primary School that the foundations are set for them to build on at Secondary school. We aim to help them to develop a positive attitude to school and learning, and the importance it holds over the rest of their lives.


Information on lateness, illness and absence is given to parents in the School Prospectus.

This highlights the importance of being at school on time and notifying school if their child is absent for any reason. The school’s attendance rate is compared to the National average in the Prospectus.

At the pre-school induction meetings held each year for children about to enter the reception class the importance of regular attendance is discussed and explained. This talk also includes parents and children arriving at school on time so that each child can be given the best possible start to each school day. Being picked up on time is also stressed, especially for young children who can be very upset if they are the only ones left.

Parents are asked to share any worries their child might have in school. Sometimes little things upset children which means they become unhappy, and may not want to come to school. Parents need to be aware of this.

Again at this initial meeting parents are asked to arrange their family holidays within the school holidays, rather than in term time so that their child’s education is not disrupted. The Head Teacher talks to those parents who persistently take their holidays in term time, reminding parents of the disruption to their child’s education. Parents are reminded not to take holiday during term time at least once a term and a statement is printed at the bottom of every list of school dates.

Children are also admitted to school at various times of the year, and into various year groups. All parents requesting a place are asked to make an appointment with the Head Teacher. At this meeting the importance of regular attendance is always highlighted along with other school routines.

Authorised and unauthorised absences are explained to parents. All parents are asked to contact school if their child is absent. This can be done by telephoning. The office assistant takes the message and places it in the register. Parents can alternatively send a letter to school when their child returns explaining the absence. Parents can also call into school to see the class teacher to explain an absence. (These records are kept by the class teacher in the register). All information is used to inform teachers when completing their registers. If no notification is received about a child’s absence the teacher informs the Head Teacher.


Authorised Absence

An absence is classified as authorised when a child has been away from school for a legitimate reason and the school has received notification from a parent or guardian.

Only the school can make an absence authorised. Parents do not have this authority. Consequently not all absences supported by parents will be authorised e.g. shopping for school uniform during school hours. Visits to clinics will be authorised for half a day only and the child is expected to come back to school after the visit.

Unauthorised absence

An absence is unauthorised when a child is absent from school without the permission of the school and/or the parent.

School permission can only be granted when the parent has contacted the school to explain the reason for absence.

The Governors and Headteacher, in partnership with the Education Welfare Service, have made the decision that absence of leave during term time will be actively discouraged. Taking a child out of school during term time is not a right that parents have and now only exceptional circumstances will be considered.

A Leave of Absence Request Form can still be obtained from the office, as there will be cases where it is unavoidable for a child to be taken out of school. These forms will be looked at on an individual basis. 

Holidays taken for the following reasons will not be authorised

  • Availability of cheap flights or accommodation
  • Availability of desired resort or accommodation
  • Poor/hot weather previously experienced in school holiday period
  • Overlap in conjunction with the beginning or end of term
  • Preferred time of year to visit desired destination

Any absence that is not authorised may be referred to the Education Welfare Service. This is very likely to result in a Penalty Notice being issued by the London Borough of Merton. The Penalty Notice carries a maximum fine of £120 for each parent of each child. (E.g. Two parents with two children could incur a cost of £440).


Parents are asked to inform the school either by telephone, message or letter on the day that their child is absent.

When a child is absent this is recorded in the register. If no reason has been given the school office may telephone the parent to find out the reason for the absence. These notes or messages are kept in the register. If no note is sent, teacher should attempt to speak to the parent after school to obtain a verbal reason. They should then record this in the class register.

The class teacher, the admin office, the head teacher and the educational social worker will all work together to monitor absence and identify patterns and concerns.


If a child is regularly late for school or is often absent then the class teacher will talk to the parent informally about it.

If the problem persists and becomes a regular pattern the class teacher will talk to the Head Teacher or office staff immediately. The admin assistant reads the registers weekly and informs the Head Teacher about any strong patterns of absence. Attendance records are checked regularly by the Head Teacher. The Educational Welfare Officer visits weekly to discuss and visit families causing concern as well as offering advice and support. A family can be referred and if no improvement is made a fine may be given, which could end up as a court matter, if not resolved.


All doors in the main school open at 8.40 and close at the following times:

  • Reception and Key Stage One – 8.55
  • Key Stage Two – 8.45

After these times children are directed through the main reception entrance as they are late. If a child is late 3 times in any one week a letter is sent home, reminding parents of the importance of punctuality.


All the staff at Abbotsbury Primary School are concerned about children’s regular attendance, and the importance of continuity in each child’s learning.

They are also concerned about each child’s safety, welfare and happiness. Although it is a very rare occurrence for a child to truant, if there is a concern that a child might be truanting then action is taken straight away.

If truancy is suspected, the Head Teacher is notified, who then contacts the parent and the Educational Welfare Officer. Parents are encouraged to bring their child to school so that reasons for the child not wanting to attend can be discussed and hopefully resolved. In the event of not being able to talk to the parent then the Head Teacher talks to the child concerned to find out if there are any worries or problems in school that might make that child not want to attend. If there are, then these are discussed with the class teacher and appropriate action taken.

Rewards to encourage regular attendance and punctuality

  • 100% attendance certificates are given out every term. Children are encouraged to ask their parents if dentist/non-urgent medical visits can be done outside school hours in order to gain 100% attendance. Children, therefore, have 6 chances of gaining one of these certificates.
  • The school attendance is announced each week
  • The class with the highest attendance in KeyPhase 1 and Key Phase 2 is announced each week
  • The key phase classes with the highest attendance each ½ term are allowed to wear mufti on the last day and choose a treat as a reward
  • Class with the highest attendance for the year is given a cup
  • House points may be gained for good attendance and punctuality
  • Teachers praise children for regular attendance and punctuality during registration as frequently as possible.

A positive comment accompanies an above-average attendance rate on the annual school report. This attendance policy may be viewed upon request and on the website.