Attendance Policy

Walton Holymoorside Primary School

Attendance Policy.

1.  Introduction

The Staff and Governors of Walton Holymoorside Primary School believe that regular school attendance is essential if children are to achieve their full potential.

We believe that regular school attendance is the key to enabling children to maximise the educational opportunities available to them and become emotionally resilient, confident and competent adults who are able to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to their community.

Walton Holymoorside Primary School values all pupils. As set out in this policy, we will work with families to identify the reasons for poor attendance and try to resolve any difficulties.

We recognise that attendance is a matter for the whole school community. Our Attendance Policy should not be viewed in isolation; it is a strand that runs through all aspects of school improvement, supported by our policies on SEN and inclusion, Safeguarding, Behaviour and Anti-bullying, and Teaching and Learning. This policy also takes into account of relevant national policies and guidance.

2.  Legal Framework

The 1996 Education Act states that parents must ensure that children of compulsory school age receive efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs they may have.

A child is of Compulsory School Age at the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday. A child ceases to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday in June of the school year in which they reach the age of 16.

The legal requirements are contained in:

The Education Act 1996.
The Education (pupil registration) (England) Regulations 2006.
The Education (pupil registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010.
The Education (pupil registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.
The Education (pupil registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

The law requires schools to take an attendance register twice a day, once at the start of the morning session and then again during the afternoon session.

The attendance register must record whether the pupil was:

  • present;
  • attending an approved educational activity
  • absent
  • unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances.

3.  Absence and attendance codes

Present at School
Pupils must not be marked present if they were not in school during registration. If a pupil were to leave the school premises after registration they would still be counted as present for statistical purposes.

Registration Code / \: Present in school / = am \ = pm
Present in school during registration.
Code L: Late arrival before the register has closed.

The register will close at 8.55am. A pupil arriving after the register has closed should be marked absent with code U, or with another absence code if that is more appropriate.

Code B: Present at Off-site Educational Activity.
An approved educational activity is where a pupil is taking part in supervised educational activity such as field trips, educational visits, work experience or alternative provision. Pupils can only be recorded as receiving off-site educational activity if the activity meets the requirements prescribed in regulation 6(4) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. The activity must be of an educational nature approved by the school and supervised by someone authorised by the school. The activity must are take place during the session for which the mark is recorded.

Code D: Dual registered-at another educational establishment.
This code is not counted as a possible attendance in the School Census. The law allows for dual registration of pupils at more than one school. This code is used to indicate that the pupil was not expected to attend the session in question because they were scheduled to attend the other school at which they are registered.

The main examples of dual registration are pupils who are attending a pupil referral unit, a hospital school or a special school on a temporary basis. It can also be used for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children, but only when the pupil is known to be registered at another school during the session in question.

Each school should only record the pupil’s attendance and absence for those sessions that the pupil is scheduled to attend their school. Schools should ensure that they have in place arrangements whereby all unexplained and unexpected absence is followed up in a timely manner.

Code J: Attending an interview with prospective employer ,or another educational establishment.
This code should be used to record time spent in interviews with prospective employers or another educational establishment. Schools should be satisfied that the interview is linked to employment prospects, further education or transfer to another educational establishment.

Code P: Participating in a supervised sporting activity.
This code is used to record the sessions when a pupil is taking part in a sporting activity that gas been approved by the school and supervised by someone authorised by the school.

Code W: Educational Trip or Visit.
This code should be used for attendance at an organised trip or visit, including residential trips organised by the school, or attendance on a supervised visit of a strictly educational nature arranged by an organisation approved by the school.

Absence from School.
Where pupils of compulsory school age are recorded as absent, the register must show whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.

Absence can only be authorised by the school and cannot be authorised by parents. All absences will be treated as unauthorised unless a satisfactory explanation for the pupil’s absence has been received. Authorised absence means that a school has either given approval in advance for a pupil to be away, or has accepted an explanation offered as justification for absence.

Code C: Leave of absence authorised by the school.
Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. Schools should consider each request individually taking into account the circumstances, such as: the nature of the event, the frequency of the request; whether the parent gave advance notice, and the pupils attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on the missed schooling.

Code E: Excluded no alternative provision made.
Alternative provision should be made after the sixth day of any fixed or permanent exclusion.

Code H: Holiday authorised by school.
Headteachers should not grant leave of absence unless in exceptional circumstances. The application should be made in advance and the Headteacher must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances which warrant the leave. Where leave of absence is granted, the Headteacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. Absence is granted entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion.

Code I: Illness.
Parents should advise the school by telephone on the first day of absence and provide the school with an expected date of return. If the authenticity of illness is in doubt, schools can request parents to provide medical evidence to support illness. Schools can record absence as unauthorised if they are not satisfied of the authenticity of the illness but should advise parents of their intention. Medical evidence may be in the form of prescriptions or appointment cards

Code M: Medical Appointments.
Medical appointments are counted as authorised absence. Parents are advised where possible to make medical and dental appointments outside of the school day. Where this is not possible, pupils should attend school for part of the day and be out of school for the minimum time possible.

Code R: Religious Observance.
Walton Holymoorside Primary school acknowledges the multi-faith nature of British society and recognises that on some occasions, religious festivals may fall outside school holiday periods or weekends and this necessitates a consideration of authorised absence or special leave for religious observance. It is reasonable for a parent to allow their children not to attend school on any day of religious observance if recognised by the parent’s religious body. Parents are requested to give advance notice to the school if they intend their child to be absent.

Code S: Study leave.
(Year 11 pupils only)

Code T: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Absence.
The aim for the attendance of Traveller children, in common with all other children, is to attend school as regularly and as frequently as possible. This code is used when traveller families are known to be travelling for occupational purposes and have agreed with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision. It should not be used for any other absence of these groups.

Unauthorised Absence.

Code G: Holiday not authorised by the school or in excess of the period determined by the Headteacher.
On 1st September 2013 amendments to the (Pupil Registration)(England) regulations 2006 came into force. These state that Headteachers may no longer grant any leave of absence for holidays in term time unless there are exceptional circumstances; in these cases it is the Headteacher  who determines the number of days a child can be away from school, if the leave is granted. Leave of absence will not be granted for reasons that are not considered exceptional. Reasons not considered exceptional are: availability of cheap holidays /cheap travel arrangements or days overlapping the end of term. Parents making an application for leave of absence for exceptional circumstances should complete a form at least two weeks before the anticipated start date. Each application will be assessed individually and a decision communicated in writing. If the school does not authorise the absence but parents still take the child out of school, or the child is kept away longer than agreed, the absence is unauthorised. The regulations do not allow schools to give retrospective approval. If parents did not apply for leave of absence in advance, the absence must be recorded as unauthorised.

Code N: Reason for absence not yet provided.
Schools should always follow up any unexplained absence in a timely manner. Every effort will be made to establish the reason for a pupil’s absence. When a reason for the absence has been established, the register should be amended. If no reason can be established after a reasonable amount of time – Code O should be entered.

Code O: Absent from school without authorisation.
If the school is not satisfied with the reason given for absence they should record it as unauthorised.

Code U: Arrived in school after registration closed.
Schools should be actively discourage late arrival and be alert to patterns and seek explanations from parents and carers.

Code Y: Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances.This code is used if the school site or part of it is closed due to unavoidable cause.  A local or national emergency has resulted in widespread disruption and this has prevented a pupil attending school.

Code #: Planned whole or partial school closure.
This code is used when school is closed for holidays ,weekends, bank holidays, INSET days as required by the school management information system.

Late Arrival Registration begins at 8.45am and ends at 8:55am pupils arriving after this time will be marked as present but arriving late.

On arrival after the close of register, pupils must report to the school office to sign in so their safeguarding needs are met.

4.  Deletions from the Register

In accordance with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, pupils will only be deleted from the register when one of the following circumstances applies:

  • The school is replaced by another school on a School Attendance Order
  • The School Attendance Order is revoked by the local authority
  • The pupil has ceased to be of compulsory school age
  • Permanent exclusion has occurred and procedures have been completed
  • Death of a pupil
  • Transfer between schools
  • Pupil withdrawn to be educated outside the school system
  • Failure to return from an extended holiday after both the school and the local authority have tried to locate the pupil
  • A medical condition prevents their attendance and return to the school before ending compulsory school-age
  • 20 days continuous unauthorised absence and both the local authority and school have tried to locate the pupil
  • Left the school but not known where he/she has gone after both the school and the local authority have tried to locate the pupil

5.  Roles and Responsibilities

We believe that excellent school attendance can only be achieved if it is viewed as a shared responsibility of the school staff, governors, parents, pupils and the wider school community. Therefore,
The Governing Body will:

  • Ensure that the importance and value of good attendance is promoted to pupils and their parents
  • Review the school’s Attendance Policy and ensure the required resources are available to fully implement the policy
  • Ensure that the Registration Regulations, England, 2006 and other attendance related legislation is complied with
  • Monitor the school’s attendance and related issues through reports at Governing Body Meetings
  • Ensure that attendance data is reported to the Local Authority or Department of Children, Schools and Families as required and on time
  • Ensure that the school has clear systems to report, record and monitor the attendance of all pupils.
  • Ensure that there are procedures for collecting and analysing attendance data to identify any causes and patterns of absence

Ensure that data is used to improve attendance where necessary.

The Headteacher/SLT will:

  • Actively promote the importance and value of good attendance to pupils and their parents
  • Form positive relationships with pupils and parents
  • Ensure that there is a whole school approach which reinforces good school attendance; with good teaching and learning experiences that encourage all pupils to attend and to achieve
  • Monitor the implementation of the Attendance Policy and ensure that the policy is reviewed
  • Ensure that all staff are aware of the Attendance Policy and support good attendance
  • Ensure that the Registration Regulations, England, 2006 and other attendance related legislation is complied with
  • Return school attendance data to the Local Authority and the Department For Education as required and on time.
  • Report the school’s attendance and related issues through the Headteacher’s report to the Full Governing Body.
  • Ensure that systems to report, record and monitor the attendance of all pupils, including those who are educated off-site are implemented.
  • Ensure that attendance data is collected and analysed to identify causes and patterns of absence.
  • Interpret the data to devise solutions and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
  • Develop a multi-agency response to improve attendance and support pupils and their families as required.
  • Document interventions used to a standard required by the local authority should legal proceedings be instigated. 


Teachers will:

  • Actively promote the importance and value of good attendance to pupils and their parents
  • Form positive relationships with pupils and parents.
  • Contribute to a whole school approach which reinforces good school attendance; with good teaching and learning experiences that encourage all pupils to attend and to achieve.
  • Comply with the Registration Regulations, England, 2006 and other attendance related legislation.

Walton Holymoorside Primary school requests that Parents and Carers:

  • Take a positive interest in their child’s work and educational progress
  • Instil the value of education and regular school attendance within the home environment
  • Contact the school if their child is absent to let them know the reason why and the expected date of return. Follow this up in writing if required.
  • Try to avoid unnecessary absences. Wherever possible make appointments for the Doctors, Dentists etc. outside of school hours
  • Ask the school for help if their child is experiencing difficulties
  • Inform the school of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance
  • Support attendance by forming positive relationships with school and acknowledge the importance of children receiving the same messages from both school and home

 6. Using Attendance Data

Pupil’s attendance will be monitored and data may be shared with the Local Authority and other agencies if a pupil’s attendance is a cause for concern.

Attendance data will also be used to identify emerging patterns and trends to inform whole school strategies to improve attendance and attainment.

School will share attendance data with the Department for Education and the Local Authority as required.

All information shared will be done so in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

7. Support Systems

Walton Holymoorside School recognises that poor attendance can be an indication of difficulties in a child’s life. This may be related to problems at home and or in school. Parents should make school aware of any difficulties or changes in circumstances that may affect their child’s attendance and or behaviour in school, for example, bereavement, divorce/separation, incidents of domestic abuse. This will help the school identify any additional support that may be required.

School also recognises that some pupils are more likely to require additional support to attain good attendance, for example, those pupils with special educational needs, those with physical or mental health needs, migrant and refugee pupils and looked after children.

The school will implement a range of strategies when appropriate to support improved attendance. Strategies used may include:

  • Discussion with parents and pupils
  • Special arrangements for before and after school
  • Referrals to support agencies
  • Friendship groups/buddy support
  • PSHE lessons
  • Reward systems
  • Additional learning support
  • Behaviour support

Support offered to families will be child centred and planned in discussion and agreement with both parents and pupils.

Where parents fail or refuse to engage with the support offered and further unauthorised absence occurs, Walton Holymoorside Primary School will consider the use of legal sanctions.

8. Legal Sanction.

Prosecution.  Where intervention fails to bring about an improvement in attendance, the Local Authority will be notified and legal action in the Magistrates’ Court may be taken. The school will provide the Local Authority with evidence required for a prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 and will appear as a prosecution witness if required by the court. This is to ensure that parents realise their own responsibilities in ensuring attendance at school and most importantly about returning children to education.

Penalty Notices (the Education(Penalty notices ) (England) Amendment regulations 2013

Parents who remove their child from school for the purposes of a family holiday without seeking prior approval or where it has been unauthorised can be issued with a penalty notice.

Walton Holymoorside School adopts the Derbyshire Local Authority Penalty Notice Code of Practice. By adopting the process the school can request the LA issue a penalty notice for unauthorised absence, for the purpose of a family holiday in term time.

This attendance policy is aimed at ensuring the school continues to promote high school attendance and thus improve children’s educational prospects.

Policy written:  November 2013
Policy reviewed:  26th November 2014
Review date:  March 2017