Attendance Policy

Last modified 14/10/2015 15:14

Attendance Policy

2014 - 2015


 The legal framework governing attendance at schools is set by successive Education Acts.

 Legal Obligations

 Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that where children of compulsory school age (5-16) are registered at a school, they should attend regularly.  Unless a child is engaged in an approved educational activity away from school site or absent with the school’s authority, they should be at school.

Cadle Primary School works in close partnership with the LEA to ensure that all pupils attend regularly.  The LEA exercises its responsibility through the Education Welfare Service and its Education Welfare Officer (EWO)  The EWO visits school on a weekly basis.  The EWO also checks the registers each week alongside school staff members with responsibility for attendance.


The law states that the school has a duty to keep an admission register of all pupils, which serves as the school roll, and an attendance register. (Section 434 of Education Act 1996).  Attendance registers must be called twice daily, at the start of the morning and during the afternoon session.  The register must show whether each child is present, engaged in an approved educational activity off site, or absent.  In addition, where a pupil of compulsory school age is absent, the register must show whether the absence was authorised by the school or unauthorised.  Authorised absence means that either the school has given approval in advance, or that a satisfactory explanation has been given afterwards.


Electronic SIMS are completed morning and afternoon. All sessions must be marked at the time of registration.  Official registration lasts for 30 minutes. Class teachers are required to address any missing marks as soon as possible after wards.    The School is registered with Data Protection Registra as a data user under the Data Protection Act 1984.


The Governing Body is required to produce an annual report for parents including reference to the school’s attendance figures.   This information is the same as that which is required to be published in School Prospectuses.

(N.A.W. Circular 14/01)


At Cadle School we aim –


  • To ensure that parents are informed of our expectations for regular attendance.  (School Prospectus, Home School Agreement, regular awareness raising initiatives, issue letters)


  • To ensure that parents also realise the importance of punctuality.


  • To ensure that parents see themselves as partners with school in the education of their children.


  • To impress upon children the importance of regular, punctual attendance.


  • To ensure that parents are aware of the procedure for notifying school of a child’s absence.  (School Prospectus)


  • To ensure that all registers are correctly marked with the appropriate electronic code (see Appendix A)


  • To ensure that all teachers realise their statutory duties relating to registration procedures.


  • To ensure that staff are aware of the work of the EWO. (Education Welfare Officer).


  • To maintain a close working relationship with our EWO.


How do we achieve the above?

Parents are informed of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality via The School Prospectus, Home School Agreement and by regular reminders and issue letters (see Appendix B)


  1. If a problem seems to be developing with a certain child or family, this may initially be dealt with by the class teacher.  The Headteacher may also become involved.  At all stages, the matter is dealt with sensitively.  We appreciate that often there are genuine reasons for lateness or absenteeism developing which, perhaps the parent/s will find difficulty discussing.  School may be in a position to help.


  1. Children are gently and sympathetically made aware of the importance of punctuality by their class teacher and through school assemblies.  Positive attendance promotion strategies include:


  • 100% attendance certificate.
  • Weekly class percentage attendance rates
  • Prizes for 100% attendance.
  • Trips out for the top attending class



  1. Teachers will take great care in marking their registers, paying careful attention to the accurate recording of appropriate attendance codes.  The importance of careful, consistent registration cannot be over-emphasised.


  1. If a child is away from school for three days without an explanation for the absence being received by school an NA1 form is completed (see Appendix C) and the EWO requested to make a home visit.


  1. School operates a system of first day absence checks.  Class teachers notify school office of any child who has not arrived at school and for whom we have received no explanation.  Admin staff telephone to confirm reason for absence. Any child on the at risk register will be called the morning of the first absence.



  1. Accurate registration, retention and security of registers is important.  It must always be remembered that registers may be used in evidence in cases where e.g. parents are being prosecuted for school attendance offences, or, as evidence in a divorce case where there is a dispute over custody of the child/children.  If unsure of the exact procedure of marking, consult the Headteacher, the Deputy Headteacher or refer to the Admin Staff.


  1. Any concern relating to a child’s attendance should be relayed to the staff with responsibility for attendance and the concern should be recorded in the book (in office).


  1. Monitoring of under 90% attendees is regularly checked by the EWO. Meetings and home visits will be carried out accordingly.


  1. Screening of attendance generally is completed half termly by the attendance coordinators.


  1. An initial letter is sent to draw parents’ attention to their child’s falling absence. (Appendix D)


  1. If the same child’s attendance shows little / no improvement, a second letter is sent. (Appendix E)



  1. On the third screening, or if concerns continue, a meeting is requested with parents.  This meeting is held jointly between the family, EWO and school staff. A positive resolution is always sought. (Appendix F)

The Education Welfare Service


Circular 45/91 stated that “the principle function of the Education Welfare Service is to help parents and LEA’s meet their statutory obligations on school attendance”.


The Service is empowered to approach a child’s family to make enquiries where it is thought that a child is absent without good reason.  When an EWO is dissatisfied with the reasons given for absence, he or she can initiate court proceedings.  However, the role of the EWO is mainly to provide a supportive role between a pupil’s home and school.


Whenever possible our EWO usually visits on a weekly basis.   However, should there be any concern or question that requires an immediate answer, our EWO can be contacted by telephone at Bishop Gore Comprehensive School.


 Attendance of Teachers


See “Management of Absence” policy.





The effectiveness of the Policy should be evaluated annually, or sooner, if deemed necessary.  The Policy should then be amended and reviewed again in a further year.

Primary Attendance Codes Quick Reference Guide


“The Education Act (school Day and School Year) Regulations 1999 require schools to be open to each compulsory school-age pupil for 380 sessions a year ”Guidance on School Attendance Codes June 2010.





Statistical Value











  • Registers should close 30 minutes after start of lesson.

Approved Educational Activity


Educated off site

(not dual registered)

Approved Educational Activity

  • Taster days
  • Alternative provision


Dual registration

Approved Educational Activity

  • present at another school or at PRU



Approved sporting activity

Approved Educational Activity

  • Supervised by someone approved by the school.



Educational visit or trip

Approved Educational Activity

  • School organised trip including residential trips supervised by someone approved by the school.



Approved Educational Activity



Work Experience

Approved Educational Activity


Holidays Absences


Agreed extended family holiday (11 days +)

Authorised Absence

  • For whole holiday if over 10 days.
  • Must be exceptional circumstances.
  • Must be provided with date of return.
  • Parent working abroad for Fixed Period; returning to home country


Agreed family holiday (10 days or less)

Authorised Absence

  • For whole holiday of 10 days or less
  • Authorised absence with school agreement. Agreement should be considered after taking into account the age of the pupil, the overall attendance and Key Stage suitability.
  • If school does not agree to this absence then should be marked as G
  • 10 days holiday reduces the student’s % to 94.7%.


Family holiday (not agreed or sessions in excess of agreement)

Unauthorised Absence

  • If a parent does not apply for leave of absence in advance regulations do not allow schools to give retrospective approval so should be marked as G.
  • If the period exceeds 10 days without Headteachers approval of exceptional circumstances.
  • If schools agreed to extension of holiday they mark as F

Medical  Absence



Authorised Absence

  • General illness - not dental or medical appointments
  • Schools can request medical evidence such as prescriptions or appointment cards not letters from GP.
  • Schools must keep a record of pupils leaving school due to illness.


Medical or dental appointment

Authorised Absence

  • Schools can request medical evidence for authenticity of illness.
  • For a stay in hospital code I should be used.

Other Authorised Absence


Excluded (no alternative provision made)

Authorised Absence

  • To be used for period of exclusion written on exclusion letter.
  • If permanently excluded: cannot be taken of roll until another provision provided which should be within the 15 day rule.


Religious observance.

Authorised Absence

  • Parents should be encouraged to give advanced notice.


Traveller absences

Authorised Absence

  • Schools cannot remove pupils from roll whilst they are travelling.
  • If pupil is known to be absent at named school or doing alternative activities then should be marked as appropriate. 


Other authorized circumstances

Authorised Absence

  • Only use code if not covered by other codes
  • Weddings, funerals, Public performances, Young carers etc


Study Leave

Authorised Absence


Unauthorised Absence


No reason provided

Unauthorised Absence

  • Every effort should be made to find out reason for absence.
  • N changed to O in two weeks if no reason provided.
  • If reasons provided they need to be recorded


Other Unauthorised (not covered by other codes or descriptions)

Unauthorised Absence

  • e.g.: shopping, birthdays, haircut, couldn’t get up etc.
  • School decision not to authorise the absence.


Late after registration  closes

Unauthorised Absence

  • Schools advised to close registers 30 minutes after start of session.
  • If late due to GP or dentist mark as M
  • Example for ‘U’ – can’t find their shoes; straightening hair

Not Required to Attend


Not required at school

Not Required to Attend

  • Pupils who are not 5 at the start of term and not continued over from nursery.
  • Pupils on part-time timetables (PSP’s) should be marked present if attending and C if not expected to attend.


Forced and partial closure

Not Required to Attend

  • Closed due to unavoidable cause such as flood, ice, damage to property etc
  •  Transport if supplied is not available. 
  • Code should not be used in planned closure then use #


Pupils not on roll

Not Required to Attend

  • Under new regulations, school must now put pupils on the admissions register on the first day that the school expects them to attend not, as previously when they first attend. If pupil does not attend mark as Leaver in SIMS.


School closed to pupils

Not Required to Attend

  • Term and Half-terms Holidays, Public Holidays, Weekends, INSET Days, School used as polling station.
  • If only part of school closed then use Y code



The Welsh Government WG Education (Penality Notice) (Wales) Regulations 2013 states that Local Authorities (LAs) are required by law to adhere to the Education Act 1996 section 444 to include penalty notices as one of the interventions to promote better school attendance.


Sections 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996 provide that certain cases of unauthorized absences can be dealt with by way of a penalty notice. A penalty notice fine of up to £120 and may be issued to a parent / carer as a result of a child’s regular non-attendance at school / educational provision.


The school adheres to the code of conduct for penalty notices as issued by ERW and agreed by your Local Authority, and therefore may request the local authority to issue a penalty notice in certain cases.