Good attendance is so important. Even missing one day of school can have a significant impact on a child’s learning. The school day is structured so that learning starts from the minute pupils walk through the door and we expect pupils to be on time and learning with us every day.

Attendance team
Miss Murtagh and Mrs McNally lead our improving attendance and punctuality strategy.

Mrs McNally makes referrals to local authority for penalty notices and cases of persistent unexplained absence

Pupils are rewarded for consistently good attendance and punctuality – the reward system celebrates good weekly and termly attendance for the pupils.

Unfortunately, during the last academic years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of pupils taking holidays during term time. Senior leaders and governors have concerns about all extended absences and the impact this has on pupil progress.

No term time holidays are authorised and all unauthorised absences that qualify are referred for penalty notice.

What should I do if my child is too unwell to attend school?
Telephone school (telephones are usually manned from 8.00 a.m. and there is a facility to leave a message for absence) to record that your child will be absent from school or send a message via school spider.

To Report an Absence
Tel: 0151 525 4580 option 1 or Email: [email protected] or Report: via school spider.

If the absence continues it is important that you keep in touch with school – ringing, emailing or sending a school spider message every day if possible.

What is an acceptable level of attendance?
We monitor all pupils whose attendance falls below 96%.

Can I request access to my child’s attendance record?
School uses SIMS information management system on which all attendance is recorded. Parents are welcome to see all attendance records for their child. All parents are issued written attendance letters half termly as a part of the end of half term short reports included in the assertive mentoring information sent out.

What is my child’s attendance falls below the accepted level 96%?
Mrs McNally (Parent Support Advisor) reviews attendance on a daily, weekly, half termly and annual basis. Where attendance falls below 96% she will:

(a) Write to the parents of the children concerned outlining the concerns.
(b) Consider what response or action is required / appropriate – this will vary depending on the individual attendance levels.
(c) Meet with the parents of children concerned to identify any support that may be necessary or needed.
(d) Monitor attendance closely.

(e) request medical proof/evidence

Parents, in the first instance, are usually asked to attend a school attendance panel (SAP) meeting with Mrs McNally and/or Governors. This is an opportunity to discuss any family or home issues that are affecting school attendance. There is an expectation after this meeting that attendance will significantly improve.

What sort of action or response will the headteacher take?
The headteacher will use a range of legal powers to improve attendance.

These can include:

  1. Requiring the appearance of parents at a meeting with governors.
  2. Requiring the appearance of parents at a Local Authority attendance panel.
  3. Fining parents for poor attendance – this will be set at £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within 42 days.
  4. Court issued Parenting Orders.
  5. Referral to Social Care – non-attendance can be seen as neglect.

What sort of absence would be acceptable?
In law it is only the headteacher who can accept or reject a reason provided for an absence. The sort of reasons that may be acceptable would include sickness, hospitalisation, religious observance and medical appointments (BUT only if they can’t be taken outside of school hours.)

However – some absences may still be deemed as unacceptable if the level of attendance is causing concern overall.

What sort of absence will NOT be acceptable?
The sort of absence that would not be acceptable would include: birthdays, buying clothing, parent appointments, going overseas to visit relatives or to undertake an appointment, taking holidays in term time, late night the night before.

If my child needs to be absent necessarily, what should I do?
If your child needs to be absent necessarily, the absence MUST be applied for BEFORE the absence takes place. Parents will need to provide the school with evidence of the necessity of the absence. The sort of evidence might include appointment cards or prescriptions.

Is it true that the headteacher can no longer authorise holidays during term time?
Yes, unless there are very exceptional circumstances. It is only the headteacher that can define what ‘exceptional’ is. However, these circumstances would be VERY rare. As a rule, requests will be refused.

What if I don’t get permission from the school for an absence (such as a holiday) but choose to go anyway?
Then a fixed penalty may be issued. These will be set at £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within 42 days. Fixed penalties for attendance can only be issued by the Headteacher, the Local Authority or Police. The penalties will apply to each child and each parent will be issued separately.

i.e. 2 children taking holiday will equal a £60 penalty each and per parent = £240 penalty for the family

How will school registers record absence in future?
On each occasion when the register is taken, the school must record one of four ‘status’ codes. These are:

  • Present
  • Attending an Approved Educational Activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to Attend Due to Exceptional Circumstances (only those authorised by the Headteacher)

If my child is ill, is there a recommended period of time for their absence?
Yes, the Regional Health Authority produces guidelines on whether or not a child should be kept off school. Copies of this guidance can be found on in the school office upon request.

How will being late to school be treated?
There is a difference between those children who are perpetually late and those who are occasionally and unavoidably late. The headteacher is now empowered to use the fixed penalty scheme for those parents who persistently bring their child to school late without an acceptable and unavoidable reason.

This is a copy of the letter we send to parents whose child is frequently late:

You are receiving this letter because we have a concern about your child’s punctuality.
We open school doors at 8:45 a.m. and from this time to 8:55 a.m. children take part in learning activities and teachers take the class register. At 8.55 a.m. all pupils in school take part in focused Maths activities.
If pupils do not attend these sessions regularly they quickly start to fall behind their peer group and equally find it difficult to keep up in class. As you can appreciate, we cannot then run the same session for pupils who are late later in the day.
Your child is entitled to a full education and, without the initial building blocks, will struggle both in the short term and then later down the line in their school career if they have gaps in learning.

Can I appeal against the headteacher or local authority decision to issue a fixed penalty?
No. There is no right of appeal. Parents who fail to pay within the 42 day limit may be subject to prosecution as a result.

How do I apply for absence approval?
Parents will be able to download a form from the school website or collect one from the school office. The Headteacher will review the request and parents will be notified of her decision.

For more information about keeping your child off school when sick, please take a look at the following link.



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St Oswald's CE Primary School. Ronald Ross Avenue, Netherton, Bootle L30 5RH

Tel: 0151 525 4580 | E: [email protected]