School Attendance and Punctuality

Knowsley attendance 2016 campaign

Good attendance is directly related to a child’s enjoyment and achievement at school and is vital to promote successful learning. We strive to provide a welcoming and caring environment whereby all members of the school community feel wanted and secure. We all take responsibility for welcoming a child into school and into the classroom, with a smile, whenever they attend.

Persistent or long-term absence has a negative impact in all areas of school life, not just on academic achievement but also on the development of key skills and friendships. Interrupted attendance makes teaching and learning difficult and undermines the educational process leading to educational disadvantage.

We expect all children to be at school, on time, every day the school is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. However, we will challenge the behaviour of children and parents who give low priority to attendance and punctuality.

We understand that children are sometimes reluctant to attend school and that the reasons for this are varied and may be complex. We aim to resolve any problems with regular attendance by making early contact with parents and offering support including referral to the Learning Mentor.  Where children are anxious about coming to school, the Learning Mentor can offer practical support and help develop strategies to manage anxiety and encourage attendance.


Our overall aim is to promote a whole community approach to improving attendance and punctuality.

  • To improve the overall percentage of children at school.
  • To make attendance and punctuality a priority for the whole school community, including parents, staff and children.
  • To provide support advice and guidance to parents and children.
  • To develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysis of attendance data
  • To develop and maintain positive communication between home and school.
  • To establish a system of rewards and incentives.
  • To work together with the School Attendance Service and other services or agencies
  • To recognise individual needs of children who have been absent for a prolonged period and who are returning to school.

What to do if a child is absent from school:

If a child is to be absent from school, parents should report absence by ringing the school office before 9.30am to report the absence.  If an absence is expected to continue beyond three days, parents are asked to maintain regular contact with the school to indicate how long the child is likely to remain absent.

When a child returns from an absence, parents should write a note to the teacher explaining the reason for the absence.

Family Holidays

Family holidays should be arranged during school holidays. All absence is bad for a child’s education.  Due to new Government guidelines, from September 2013 (updated October 2014), the Headteacher cannot authorise any holidays in term time (except in very exceptional circumstances – further information can be found in the school’s  ‘Leave of Absence Policy 2013’ on the school website).

Parents must request permission from the Headteacher in advance of the holiday by completing a Holiday Request Form available from the school office.  All requests are considered by the Headteacher whose decision it is to authorise the absence or not.

Where a pupil is absent from school without permission of the school, the parent/carer of the pupil may be issued with a £60.00 Penalty Notice per parent per child. If the notice remains unpaid after 21 days the penalty increases to £120.00. If the notice remains unpaid after 28 days the Local Authority may commence proceedings under section 444(1) of the 1996 Education Act in the Magistrates Court.

If children are taken away for a two week holiday every year and have an average number of days off for sickness and appointments, then by the time they leave at sixteen, they will have missed a year of school.


We expect all parents and carers to ensure that children arrive at school on time. The school day starts at 8.50am. The responsibility for lateness and attendance rests with the parent and any concerns are raised with the parent and not with the child.

If a child arrives after 8.50am they will be recorded as late. Registers close at 9.30am and any child arriving after this time is treated as being late after registration which is recorded as an unauthorised absence. Doors are closed promptly at 8.50am. If a child is late for school, the child should be taken to the school office where their attendance can be recorded and any school meals orders taken.

Monitoring unauthorised absence

Unauthorised absences will be reported to the Attendance Service via regular meetings to discuss the next appropriate action.If a child returns to school with a note that has an unacceptable reason for the absence then the class teacher will refer the note to the Learning Mentor. The Learning Mentor will then arrange inform the parent or carer that the absence has been categorised as an unauthorised absence. The Learning Mentor will categorise this as unauthorised on the absence form. If unauthorised absences continue then the Learning Mentor will liaise with the School Attendance Service.

Attendance Problems         

We aim to support parents and carers to help remove any barriers which prevent a child attending school. These could be barriers which the child has or which the parent has. Our starting point is always one of support. In return, we expect parents to contact school at an early stage and to work with us in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful and we try to resolve attendance issues within school.

The School Attendance Service visits school regularly and will follow up any cases where difficulties remain unresolved. The School Attendance Officer will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed, these Officers can use court proceedings to prosecute parents or to seek an Education Supervision Order. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2,500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.

Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the School Attendance Service themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice. Their telephone number is available from the school office or by contacting the Local Education Authority.

Rewards and Incentives

Good attendance is also promoted and encouraged by:

  • celebrating attendance and punctuality in weekly whole school assemblies using the traffic light red (below 90%), amber (below 95%) and green zones (95% and above)
  • raise awareness of good attendance with Attendance Weeks and talks from the attendance service
  • recording good attendance on individual pupil records
  • reward pupils with good attendance
  • provide reward systems for any pupil defined to have made a special effort in attendance
  • 100% attendance rewarded each term
  • children who achieve 100% attendance over the whole school year receive an award for excellent attendance
  • punctuality awards each term
  • giving children the opportunity to work with the Learning Mentor to raise their levels of attendance
  • meeting with parents who are concerned that their child may be experiencing difficulties which may hinder their child’s attendance at school
  • working in partnership with the local authority through initiatives such as Attendance and Punctuality Assemblies
  • Regular Attendance Reports to be sent home
  • Regular Meetings between the Learning Mentor and the School Attendance Officer