At the heart of everything we do at Bignold Primary School is children’s learning, but children cannot learn if they are absent. We therefore aim to ensure that our children take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them and raise standards by promoting regular attendance and punctuality of pupils. We have therefore adopted the following policy and procedures. This policy relates to all pupils of statutory school age.

This document is written with reference to the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention states what countries must do to ensure ALL children grow as healthy as possible, can learn at school, are protected, have their views listened to and our treated fairly. Article 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of our policies.

This policy has particular reference to Article 18: Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their child and should always consider what is being for their child. Governments must support parents by giving them the help they need.


  • To improve attendance and punctuality at Bignold Primary School
  • To reduce the percentage of unauthorised absence
  • To create a culture in which good attendance and punctuality is valued by the school
  • Develop and maintain effective communication regarding attendance between home and school

Pupil Registration 

The school is required to maintain two registers: 

  • An admission register (known as the school roll)    

The admission register shall contain a list of all pupils at the school. 

  • An attendance register (unless all pupils are boarders).

The school ensures that an attendance register for all pupils on the school roll is taken twice a day; once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session. For each pupil, the register must be marked either as present, engaged in an approved educational activity away from the school site or absent. If the pupil is absent, the register must say whether or not the absence has been authorised by the school.

Authorised or Unauthorised Absence? 

Authorised absence is where the school has either given approval in advance for a pupil of compulsory school age to be away, or has accepted an explanation offered afterwards as satisfactory justification for absence.

All other absences must be treated as unauthorised.

Responsibilities of Parents 

The Education Act of 1996 states that Parents and carers have the prime responsibility for ensuring that registered pupils of compulsory school age attend school regularly. If a child does not attend regularly, parents should work closely with the school, the Pupil and Family Support Worker ( PFSW) and the LA attendance officer to resolve the problem.

Parents found guilty of school attendance offences could be subject to a fine of up to £2500 and/or a period of imprisonment for up to three months, or alternatively the Authority could seek a parenting order. At Bignold Primary School we encourage a good working relationship with parents by regularly publicising the arrangements for notifying absence and the school’s policy towards authorised absence in the home-school agreement.

A DfES leaflet School Attendance: Information for Parents (DfES Publications) is available. It is published in English and eleven community languages.

School Procedures

Any child who is absent from school must have their absence recorded as being authorised or unauthorised. Only the headteacher or a member of staff acting on her behalf can authorise absence. 


Registers close at 9.00am, i.e. 10 minutes after opening.

This means if a child arrives late between 8.55am and 9.00am then they are recorded in the register as ‘L’.

This will count as the child being present in school.

If a child arrives late after 9.00am the absence is recorded as an unauthorised absence (‘U’)

This will count as an unauthorised absence and may trigger Attendance Officer involvement.

Absences without notification - First day calling 

The Admin Assistant will follow up all absences without notification with a phone call home before 9.30am.

First Day Absence

Parents are expected to contact the school on first day of absence. In the case of identified children the school will make first day absence telephone contact. Class teachers are initially responsible for ensuring that the office is made aware when identified children are absent. Staff will then call the family and check on reasons for absence. This information will then be recorded and where necessary passed on to the relevant professional.

Fifth Day Absence

If a child has been absent for 5 consecutive days without explanation or authorisation then the school will contact the family to check and establish the reason for the child’s absence.

Tenth Day Absence

Any pupil who is absent without an explanation for 10 consecutive days, 20% unauthorised absence will be referred to the Attendance officer. [THIS IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT.] The school will include details of action that they have taken..

Frequent Absence

It is the responsibility of everyone in the school community to be aware of and bring attention to, any emerging attendance concerns. In cases where a pupil begins to develop a pattern of absences, the school will try to resolve the problem with the parent/s. If this is unsuccessful the school will refer to the School Health Adviser if the problem appears to be a medical one. In other cases the school will discuss the problem with the schools Attendance Officer.

Frequent Medical Absences

The school will discuss with the School Nurse those pupils who frequently miss days for medical reasons. Where necessary a referral will be made to the school nurse for an evaluation of the child’s health and educational needs.

It is important that on return from an absence that all pupils are made to feel welcome. This should include ensuring that the pupil is helped to catch up on missed work and brought up to date on any information that has been passed to the other pupils. 

Attendance Monitoring

The school monitors the attendance of all pupils on a weekly basis. Where the school have identified that a child’s attendance has fallen below the level of 90% in any six week period the school writes to the parents making them aware of our concerns and the importance of consistent and regular attendance at school. The expected level of attendance for primary age children is 95%

If there is no subsequent improvement in a child’s attendance a second attendance letter is sent home informing parents of school and national expectations and asking them to try to ensure that their child’s attendance improves and offering support and advice where necessary.  

The school will endeavour to work with and support all children and families where ever possible. 

Holidays in term time

The school does not authorise any holidays during term time. However we do realise that there are events and situations that require absence from school during term time that cannot be avoided, in these cases an Absence Request From would need to be completed. It is up to the Headteacher to authorise an absence or not.

Attendance Awards

The school operates a number of awards and incentives for good attendance.

The class in Y 5&6 with the highest attendance for the term will be rewarded with a Trip. Any other child in Y 5&6 who has 100% attendance will also be invited on the trip along with any Star of the Week and Bignold Brain Certificate winners. 

97% + attendance certificates are given out at the end of each term. Bronze for one term, silver for two and gold for three. 

Attendance Targets:

The school’s attendance target last year was: 96%

This year our target is: 98%

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