Attendance News Letter Issue No: 1

School attendance

Children are expected to attend school every day, unless they are sick.

Should my child be in school?

√    Cough, cold, temperature, sore throat, headache or other minor illness – we would encourage parents to give the child some Calpol or children’s paracetamol and send them in to school as soon as possible

×    Vomiting and/or diarrhoea – NO. Children should stay at home for 48 hours after the last incidence of vomiting or diarrhoea

How can I tell the school about my child’s absence?

Top tips!

√    Keep the school informed and up-to-date

√    Always state your child’s FULL name, class and the reason for their absence

×    DON’T say sick, not well or ill – we need more information than this

√    Most importantly, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, seek the advice of a medical professional

We celebrate good attendance by:

  • Weekly celebrations in assembly for the best attending class
  • Issuing certificates for children with 98% and above attendance on a half termly and termly basis
  • All children with 98% and above attendance at the end of a half term and term are issued with raffle tickets to win end of year attendance prizes.
  • All children with 98% and above attendance at the end of the year are issued with a badge / medal

Parents are made aware of their child’s attendance on a regular basis – either as part of a Parents’ Evening, end of term report or on a card home.

If we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance you will be invited in to a meeting with a member of the school team.

If attendance does not improve we will organise a meeting / home visit with the school’s Education Welfare Officer.


We have redesigned the school timetable to enable as much learning as possible to take place in the mornings. As a result, most lessons will start at 9am. As a reminder:

8.45 – Classroom doors open

8.50 – 8.55 – Registration

8.55 – Gates close and children need to access the school through the main entrance – child is registered as LATE

9.10 – Registers close and children are registered as an UNAUTHORISED LATE

Family workers will contact you if we notice your child has regular unauthorised lates and the Educational Welfare Officer will take action, in line with the Local Authority policy.

Taking children out of school for appointments.

Please can I ask parents to try their best to organize routine appointments for before / after school and in the holidays. If you need to take your child to a hospital appointment or urgent doctor/dentist appointments and this appointment falls during the lunch hour, please collect your child prior to the lunch hour starting – the Office staff will not be able to get a child if it is during the lunch hour.

Lunch hours are as follows:

  • Reception –12.00pm – 1.00pm (11.45 at the moment)
  • Year 1 – 12.15pm – 1.15pm
  • Year 2 – 12.30pm – 1.30pm
  • Year 3 – 12.00pm – 1.00pm
  • Year 4 – 12.15pm – 1.15pm
  • Year 5 – 12.30pm – 1.20pm
  • Year 6 – 12.45pm – 1.35pm

Term Time Leave / holidays (Leave of absence)

This academic year, we need to reduce the amount of absence in our school. Currently the levels of absence at Downside, are far higher than National figures and the number of children who are defined as being ‘persistent’ absentees is also far higher.

Leave of Absence policy

You can find a copy of the Local Authority’s new Leave of Absence Policy, which the Governors have adopted. There is also a new form to complete for any leave requests.

Key points from the policy:

  • There is no longer a 95% expectation for attendance. The expectation for every child is 100% attendance.
  • Leave of absence requests must be made in advance or the leave cannot be authorised – the policy states at least two weeks and this has been agreed by Governors.
  • As has always been the case, Leave of Absence of absence is only granted in exceptional circumstances.
  • Children will be taken off roll if they have 20 days or more unauthorised absence
  • Where five unauthorised leave days or more are taken, each parent will continue to receive a penalty fine, per child.

In addition, it has been agreed that at Downside, all parents considering Leave of Absence should meet with Miss Naz, Family and Community Manager or one of the Family Workers prior to booking flights / the leave. Therefore, if you are considering booking leave, please arrange a meeting with Miss Naz. If parents chose to apply for the leave, after their meeting with Miss Naz then they should complete the form and hand it in to the school office.

Parents should be aware that some parts of the National Curriculum are only taught once in a child’s lifetime at the school and if these sessions are missed then this can impact the child’s attainment at the end of Year 6.

Parents should be aware of children’s Statutory assessments:

  • In Year 2, children take their tests at any time in May. At Downside, these tests are part of the daily timetable and we do not make them formal; however they do happen! In addition, teachers base their assessments on the children’s books/ learning – if a child has missed a week / two weeks for a holiday – they will have lost precious learning and there could be insufficient evidence in their books.
  • In Year 6, children are tested formally one week in May, on the whole of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. The teachers continually revise Maths and Literacy learning throughout the whole year.
  • In addition, writing teacher assessment is taking place all year, up until the end of June – some of the children’s best writing happens between the end of the May tests and the end of June.

Persistent absentees

Children who miss 10% or more sessions (2 sessions per day), at any given time, are categorised as Persistent absentees. At the end of the year (380 sessions), children who miss more than 19 days (38 sessions) are persistent absentees.

As a school, we will continue to track children carefully and let you know if your child is at risk of becoming categorised as a persistent absentee.

For example, in the Autumn term –a child would be classed as a persistent absentee is they have missed 7.5 days.

We recognise that some children may be very ill / have an operation etc and will miss this number of days; we will, obviously, understand this. However, there are some children who have sporadic days off and Family workers will work specifically with these parents.

Unauthorised absences – Penalty warning letters

The school’s educational Welfare Officer completes regular register checks. If a child has missed a number of days of school then the EWO will be in contact to issue a Penalty Warning letter – this is standard practice. Should a child continue to have poor attendance at school, after the Penalty warning, then a Penalty Notice will be issued with a fine.

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