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Absence and Attendance

The law requires children to attend school regularly and punctually. Parents are responsible for making sure that their children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education. This can be by regular attendance at school, at alternative provision, or otherwise (e.g. the parent can choose to educate their child at home). A child reaches compulsory school age on or after their fifth birthday and continues to be of compulsory until the last Friday of June in the school year that they reach sixteen. From September 2015 all sixteen year olds are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday.

Schools must monitor pupils’ attendance through their daily register and inform their local authority of the details of pupils who are regularly absent from school or have missed 10 school days or more without permission. School has a duty to address poor attendance and report to the authority any attendance that is irregular. Schools also have safeguarding duties under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 in respect of their pupils, and as part of this should investigate any unexplained absences.

Local authorities and all schools have legal powers to use parenting contracts, parenting orders and penalty notices to address poor attendance and behaviour in school. In addition to using these powers, local authorities and schools can develop other practices to improve attendance.

At Woodside we are committed to working in partnership with parents, pupils and the authority to ensure that absences and lateness are kept to a minimum.

Routines & School Timings

  • Children should arrive at the playground between 8:35a.m. and 8:50a.m.
  • A whistle will be blown promptly at 8:50a.m. on the lower and upper school playground where the children will be led into the school by their teachers. 
  • Registers will be called promptly at 8:55a.m. and again at 1:15p.m.
  • It is important that all children are in school promptly, ready and able to learn from 9a.m therefore any child arriving after 8.55a.m. will be marked as 'late' (L).
  • When children are late they miss the vital teacher input for the subsequent lessons. 
  • All missed learning is significant. 
  • The school will follow up with parents/carers if children are repeatedly late for school. 
  • Pupils, who arrive late should report to the school’s office where they will sign in using the Inventry system. They are required to provide a reason for their lateness. 
  • Any child arriving after 10.35am will be marked in the school’s register as (U) which relates to a Department for Education absent for a whole session code. Please note that this will affect your child's overall attendance for the school year.  
  • Parents are reminded that if a satisfactory reason for lateness is not offered by the parents or carers, the lateness will be recorded as an unauthorised absence (O). 


Reporting Absence

  • If your child is unable to come to school for any reason, including illness, please notify the office by telephone, on the first and each subsequent day of absence by 9.30am.  
  • We will have to contact you (and any contacts that we have for your child) on any day we have not had confirmation of a reason for absence. 
  • This is part of our safeguarding measures as we will not know otherwise, if a child has left from home but not reached school.

Absence Because Of Illness

  • For any absence please call the school office before 9:30am and on each subsequent day of any absence from school. This is to comply with safeguarding.
  • Whilst the school understands that children can fall ill from time to time, we would actively encourage parents/carers to review the NHS guidance on "Is My Child Too Ill For School?". We have found recently that children are missing school for low level ailments. Please be assured that our staff will look after your child and will always call you if we feel that your child would benefit from being at home. 
  • Please note that the school will follow up with parents/carers where children appear to have repeated absences due to minor ailments. In some occasions, the school may request a note from a medical professional/evidence of an appointment before the absence is authorised. 
  • If your child needs a medical appointment during the school hours, please inform the school office by phone or email the office -
  • If your child requires prescribed medication to be held or administered in school, please complete the Permission to Administer Medication form and return it to the school office.  In certain cases, we may require a written doctor’s note.  Please note we cannot administer medication that is not prescribed for your child by a medical professional.

All Other Absences

  • It is absolutely vital that children attend the school regularly. The minimum expected percentage of attendance for primary schools is 95%.
  • The School Governors and the school staff appreciate that occasionally parents consider taking their children out of school for extraordinary reasons. Any absence, however short, can have a detrimental effect on a child’s learning and the progress they make at school. If you wish to consider taking your child out of school, please complete the Extraordinary Leave of Absence Form (a printable version of the form can be found on our website) and make an appointment with the Headteacher. Please note that any leave of absence other than bereavement or religious observance is almost always refused and your child’s absence will be recorded as unauthorised (extensive days for travelling will not be authorised).

Authorised and Non-Authorised Absence

The school is obliged by law to differentiate between authorised and unauthorised absences. Only the school can authorise an absence. Whilst we deal sympathetically with any absence or lateness, authorisation will not be granted automatically – except in cases of a pupil’s genuine illness, injury or extraordinary family circumstances. Please note that parents may be asked to enter into a Parental Contract if the attendance falls below the minimum level of 95%. If the attendance falls below the 90% and unauthorised absence is 5% or over, the school may contact the Educational Welfare Service for further advice.

Absence can be authorised only if the pupils is:

  • Granted an exceptional leave of absence
  • Ill or unavoidably prevented from attending the school
  • Attending an interview for a place at another school
  • Attending an approved off-site activity
  • Attending a Pupil Referral Unit
  • Attending an approved public performance


  • It is a day of religious observance
  • There is a family bereavement. 

Absence will not be authorised if the pupil is:

  • On a family holiday
  • Absent due to unexceptional occasion


  • The school is not satisfied with the parental explanation
  • No explanation is given by the parents.

Useful Statistics For Parents/Carers


Minutes lost each day Days lost per school year
5 mins 3 days
10 mins 6.5 days (over 1 week of school)
15 mins 10 days (2 weeks of school)
20 minutes 13 days (over 2.5 weeks of school)
30 minutes 19 days (just under 4 weeks of school)


Being late 10 mins every day for one year is equal to 33 hours - approximately 6 days!

Good Attendance

What does your child's percentage attendance mean? Parents/carers often become confused about what good attendance is. As a school our target attendance percentage is 98%. 

Attendance Percentage Days missed over a school year
100% 0 days missed
95% 10 days missed (2 weeks of school)
90% 20 days missed (4 weeks of school)
85% 30 Days missed (6 weeks of school – approximately half a term)
80% 40 Days missed (8 weeks of school)







Research has shown that 17 days absence in a year results in a drop of one grade at GCSE over time.


Term Time Holidays 

Please note that term time holidays will not be authorised. 

For safeguarding reasons it is important that you inform the school if your child is absent from school for any reason.

If you intend to go on an unauthorised holiday during school time, you must inform the Headteacher of your intentions by emailing the school office ( otherwise your child will be considered as "Child Missing Education" and the school will be obliged to follow safeguarding protocols.  

The school follows the government's guidance regarding term time holidays. Penalty Notices may be considered if there are 10 or more sessions of absence due to holiday.