Good attendance at Little Waltham C.E.V.A Primary School is a vital factor in determining how well pupils progress academically and whether they achieve their full potential in all areas of school life, both in lessons and in extra-curricular activities. It also impacts on their welfare and happiness at school.

Gates open in the morning from 8.45am and pupils will begin the day with a morning task revisiting prior learning. The school gates will close promptly at 9am. If a child arrives at school after 9am they will be deemed late.  Registers close at 9.20am and arrival at school after this time will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

The Department for Education classifies children with an attendance below 90% as persistent absentees, in line with the Government’s commitment to reduce absences. In real terms this means that, for example from September to October half term, if your child had an absence of 4 days or more, they fall into this category of being a persistent absentee (as shown in the table below).

As a school we closely monitor the children’s attendance and are obliged to report any child in this category of persistent absentee to the local authority or the children missing education service on a termly basis. This is then reviewed by them and where appropriate parents will be called to attend a meeting with an officer from this service.

Whilst we would not want you to bring your child to school when they are genuinely ill, we would request that, wherever possible, doctors and dentist appointments are booked outside of school hours, as although these absences are authorised, they do count within the 90% attendance threshold. We understand that being unwell and absent from school is sometimes unavoidable. The follow-up procedures are an automatic part of the school’s statutory duties of care for the welfare and progress of pupils.

We would also remind you that requests for holidays/leave of absence will not be authorised unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. The definition of ‘exceptional circumstance’ is rare, significant, unavoidable and short. A child who has two weeks out of school for a holiday will miss 50 hours of education. The Local Authority fine for an absence taken that has not been authorised is up to £120 per parent per child (up to £480 for a family with 2 adults and 2 children).

If your child’s attendance drops below 90% and/or where absence for sickness is prolonged or irregular, we will contact you to discuss the reasons for absence and what support we can offer. We will ask for medical evidence to be provided regarding absence. This is in no way a reflection upon your judgement as a parent or carer.

Expectations at Little Waltham

  • To keep requests for their child to be absent to a minimum.
  • To offer a reason, or medical proof, for any period of absence, preferably before the absence or on the first day of absence.
  • To ensure that their child arrives at school on time, a reason should be offered for any lateness.
  • To work closely with the school and Attendance Service to resolve any problems that may impede a child’s attendance.
  • To take family holidays during school holiday periods and be aware that requests for holidays during term time will be refused except in special/exceptional circumstances.
  • To be aware of curriculum requirements and be especially vigilant with regards to attendance during important academic times such as SATS.