Parents/Carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that children of compulsory school age attend on a regular and full time basis. Permitting an absence from school without good reason is an offence. A pupil whose attendance drops to 90% each year will, over their time at primary school, have missed the equivalent of two whole terms of learning.

Parents/Carers must:

  • Ensure their child(ren) attends school everyday unless prevented from doing so by illness or a medical appointment.

  • Inform the school in advance of any medical appointments during school time. For the absence to be authorised as medical, we require evidence from the doctor or dentist, such as appointment details card/letter/text message.

  • Ensure their child arrives at school in time for registration. Lateness is monitored and may be recorded as unauthorised.

  • Inform the school as soon as possible about any child’s reluctance to come to school so that any problem can be quickly identified and dealt with.

  • Follow application procedures regarding a request for a leave of absence in term time, which should only be taken if absolutely necessary. Leave is not automatically authorised unless considered an exceptional circumstance - this does not include holidays or overseas travel for extended periods of time.

Any leave taken during term time that has been unauthorised could be subject to a Penalty Notice.

Penalty Notice

The fine for a Penalty Notice is £60 per child, per parent, increasing to £120 if not paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If a Penalty notice remains unpaid, parents may be the subject of court proceedings for failing to ensure the regular school attendance of their child(ren), which could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months per parent.

Parents who take unauthorised leave during term time or whose child has a pattern of unauthorised absence over any 4 week period could be subject to the issue of a Penalty Notice.

‘There are 190 days in a school year. This means there are 175 days in the year available to use for holidays.

Every school day counts! Children of school-age who are registered at a school must, by law, attend that

school regularly. When a child is absent from school, attainment is affected. He or she misses the lessons

provided and is also less prepared for the lessons after his or her return to school. Absence does have a

negative effect on social relationships and friendships.’

Wisbech Schools’ Partnership Attendance Matters


The school gates are open at 8.45am.

The classroom door is opened at 8:50am.

Teaching start at 9:00am.

Once teaching has started, entry to the school is only via the main entrance.

Registers are open at 8.50am and closed at 9:00am. Pupils who arrive at school between 9.00am and 9.15am will be recorded as late on the register.

Pupils who arrive at school after 9:15am, will have their lateness recorded as U; unauthorised late, which is classed as an absence for the session.

School finishes at 3.15pm and children should be collected promptly to avoid anxiety and worry.


Where pupils show a persistent pattern of lateness, parents/carers will initially receive a letter informing them of the school’s concerns. This will advise parents/carers to speak to a member of staff to help address the issue. Should the lateness continue despite the school’s attempts to address this, parents/carers will be invited into school for a meeting with the headteacher. Further lateness will result in a referral being made to the EWO.

Registration at the beginning of the day is the start of the first lesson. This is also when the teacher supports children with any gaps in learning from the previous day, informs the class of their learning timetable, and prepares the pupils’ for their day ahead. Children who are persistently late to school, therefore, miss a significant part of their education.

Reporting a Pupil Absent:

Parents/Carers must contact the school on the first and every subsequent day of absence by 8.45am. This can be by phone or email. For any pupil not present at the close of registration, a member of the office will attempt to make contact with the parent/carer once the registers have closed at 9.00am, to enquire about the reason for absence, if the parent/carer has not informed the school that morning.

Failure to make contact with the parent/carer to establish a reason for an absence could result in an Unexplained Absence Form being sent home for the parent/carer to complete. Any unexplained absences will be recorded as unauthorised if there is no response to an enquiry.

Definitions of Leave

Authorised leave:

An absence is classified as authorised when a pupil has been away from school for a legitimate reason such as:

  • a medical appointment and supporting evidence has been provided. However, there is an expectation that the pupil will return to school after the appointment.

  • Religious observance (for dates set/recognised by religious bodies/leaders).

  • The leave of absence has been granted due to exceptional, unavoidable circumstances.

Unauthorised leave:

An absence is classified as unauthorised when a child is away from school without the permission of the school, even with the support of the parent/carer, such as:

  • going shopping.

  • the child’s or a relative’s birthday.

  • having a haircut.

  • there has been no reason provided by the parents/carers to support an absence.

  • failure to follow school procedures or inform the school when taking a pupil out of school during term time.

  • a leave of absence that has not been granted as not consider an exceptional circumstance.

Guidance for Parents:

Parents do not have any right or entitlement to take their child out of school for a term time holiday. Recent government guidelines have removed the discretion on head teachers agreeing to term time leave. Any requests for a leave of absence need to be submitted before the leave is taken. Exceptional circumstances will be considered on an individual basis, but the following requests for a leave of absence for a family holiday that do not meet the criteria and therefore will be unauthorised and subject to a Penalty Notice are :

  • Cheaper holidays in UK or abroad

  • Holidays that overlap the beginning or the end of term

  • Visiting family or friends who have different half term holiday dates

  • Family weddings for more than 2 days or visits to see family abroad

  • Relatives coming to visit


  • Children with 100% or Excellent attendance (98%+) will receive a certificate each term.

Reporting an absence

If your child is unwell and needs to be absent from school, please either email or phone the school office before 9.00am. Before absence is authorised, we may ask for confirmation of your child's illness from their doctor.

If your child is suffering from sickness or diarrhoea they should remain at home for 48 hours after their last bout.

Please arrange for medical and dental appointments outside of school hours. If an appointment in the school day is unavoidable, please inform us in advance and take the appointment card or letter to the school office.

Parentmail can also be used to report your child's absence.