Borrowdale CE Primary School
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School Attendance: What Parents and Carers need to know:


All pupils are expected to be punctual in attendance. Except in the case of illness, no pupil should be absent from school without parents having sought permission – in writing – beforehand. Unauthorised absences without explanation should be avoided because it could lead to a safeguarding investigation into the child’s welfare (a child could be missing!).


If your child is prevented from attending school for any reason, or is going to be late, please contact school. There is usually someone in the office at 8am to answer the phone, alternatively, please email Mr Smits. If the school has not been notified by 9am, the teacher will have to find time away from class to contact you to find out why your child is absent.


Through regular attendance, pupils can: 

  • Build friendships and develop social groups. 

  • Develop life skills. 

  • Engage in essential learning and other school social events. 

  • Achieve to their full potential. 

  • Minimise the risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour and becoming victims or perpetrators of crime. 


All parents should promote good attendance and work in partnership with the school to provide a cohesive approach.


What does the law say? 

All children of compulsory school age – between 5-16 – must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making appropriate alternative arrangements. 

Once you have registered your child at a school, you are also legally responsible for ensuring that your child attends school regularly. If you fail to do this – even if your child misses school without you knowing – legal action can be taken against you by the Local Authority. It is a legal offence to fail to ensure your child attends school regularly. 

Legal action can involve a penalty notice or being taken to court. 


Can my child ever be absent? 

When a pupil is absent from school, this will be classified as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’. 

The governing board and headteacher decide which absences are granted as authorised. Authorised absences are only permitted for valid reasons such as: 

  • Illness. 

  • Medical or dental appointments. 

  • Religious observances. 

  • Family bereavement. 

Wherever possible, parents should always try to arrange medical and dental appointments during school holidays or after school hours. 


What are unauthorised absences? 

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider essential or reasonable. 

Unauthorised absences can include: 

  • Forgetting school term dates. 

  • Oversleeping. 

  • Absences that have not been explained. 

  • Arriving at school after the register has closed. 

  • Leaving school for no reason during the day. 

  • Truancy before or during the school day. 

  • Keeping pupils off school unnecessarily or without explanation. 

  • Day trips or family outings. 

  • Problems with uniform/clothing. 

  • Birthdays and holidays.


Holidays during term time 

The school cannot be expected to authorise an absence for a holiday during term time. Taking holidays during term time means that pupils miss important school time – both educationally and for other school activities. It will be difficult for pupils to catch up on work when they return to school. Headteachers may only grant leave now in 'exceptional circumstances'. Exceptional circumstances do not involve cheaper costs, family availability or weather conditions. As always, you're welcome to come and see us to talk about your plans and ideas first before booking something. You can be fined if you take your child on holiday during term time without permission from the headteacher. 



Good attendance doesn’t just involve being present in school – it also involves punctuality. You also have a responsibility to ensure that your child arrives at school on time and stays in school during the day. 

All pupils are expected to be in their classrooms at 8.45am every day. If pupils are not in their classrooms by 9:00am, they receive a late mark – this is an unauthorised absence. 


How can I help? 

You can help in the following ways: 

  • Encourage good attendance by making sure your child goes to school regularly 

  • Take an interest in your child’s school work 

  • Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of absence from school 

  • Support our school in our efforts to control inappropriate behaviour 

  • Inform us on the first day of your child’s absence, and keep us updated throughout the absence period 

  • Provide us with more than one emergency contact for your child, to ensure that if we receive no response from one number, we can try the others that you have provided 

  • Cooperate with us to make sure your child overcomes any attendance problems 

  • Discuss planned absences with the headteacher and apply for permission well in advance 

  • Only take your child out of school during term time when the absence has been authorised 


Don’t underestimate the importance of 100 percent attendance. Even one day missed can have an effect on learning: 

  • 98 percent attendance means four school days missed 

  • 95 percent attendance means 10 school days missed 

  • 90 percent attendance means 19 school days missed 

  • 80 percent attendance means 38 school days missed 

  • Five minutes late each day means three school days missed