Absence & Attendance

Absence and Attendance

Information for Parents and Carers


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.


  • Children should arrive at the playground between 8:35a.m. and 8:50a.m.
  • A whistle will be blown at 8:50a.m. on the lower school playground where the children will be led into the school by their teachers. Children in the upper school are encouraged to go into school from 8:40a.m. A whistle will be blown at 8:50am at which time all remaining children in Years 5 and 6 should go inside.
  • School officially starts at 8:55a.m. The afternoon session starts at 1:15p.m. for all year groups.
  • Registers will be called promptly at 8:55a.m. and again at 1:15p.m.
  • In the morning, registers close at 9:05a.m. for all classes. In the afternoon they close at 1:25p.m.
  • Pupils arriving after the school starts and before the registers are closed, will be marked in the registers as ‘late’ (L).
  • Pupils, who arrive after the registers are closed, should report to the school’s office. They will be marked in the school’s register as ‘late after the register closes’ (U)
  • 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). 
Daily Absence Routine
  • 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.  We will have to contact you 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 through illness

  • For any absence of two or more days - when your child returns to school, please complete the Absence Letter slip (a printable version of the form can be found on our website) and return it to the school office for our internal records. Alternatively you can send in a note or e-mail the school office at office@woodside.bucks.sch.uk . You should give the dates and reasons for your child’s absence from school. We need this information as we keep a written record of any absences.
  • If your child needs a medical appointment during the school hours, please also complete the Absence Letter slip and return it to the school office. You can also send a written note, e-mail or text.
  • If your child requires prescribed medication to be held or administered in school, please complete the 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 I 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).

 A Polite Reminder

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 advise.

You may be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school’s permission. This is particularly applicable to absence during any statutory examinations such as SATs.

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 and Carers



Minutes lost each day

Days lost per school year

5 minutes

3 days

10 minutes

6.5 days (over 1 week of school)

15 minutes

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


0 Days missed


10 Days missed (2 weeks of school)


20 Days missed (4 weeks of school)


30 Days missed (6 weeks of school – approximately half a term)


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.