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At Cumwhinton School we want to make sure that your child receives a happy, full-time education. As a school we recognises the importance of excellent attendance and punctuality in order that pupils can maximise and achieve their potential. We know that regular, consistent attendance makes a huge difference to learning: if children are not in school then miss key parts of their learning.

It is important that, as parents/carers, you know what is expected by the Government and the school in terms of attendance:

Parents are legally responsible to ensure their child attends school regularly and attend on time and we as a school also have a legal responsibility to ensure that we monitor all our pupil’s attendance and offer support to any family who may be experiencing difficulties with getting children to school.

The government consider anything less than 90% to be poor attendance, as this is the equivalent of missing half a day of education each week, therefore children with less than 90% attendance are deemed as ‘Persistent Absentees’.

Absences which are included are:
  • Ill health
  • Term time holidays either authorised or unauthorised
  • Medical/dental appointments
  • Late arrival after register has closed
  • Or for instances where no explanation is received

To achieve 90%+ attendance over the school year, children can have no more than the equivalent of 38 sessions absent all year (each day counts as 2 sessions), which works out at roughly 6 or 7 days per term.

At Cumwhinton School we expect pupils to be in school and on time every day barring serious illness or accident. Good attendance is vital in ensuring your child achieves the best possible outcomes when they leave Cumwhinton School and move on to their next school. It also ensures that they are well versed in the standards required for success at secondary school and future employment. However, we do also understand that sometimes children need to be absent from school and we do not expect your child to come to school if they are ill – in fact we will telephone you to collect them if they are poorly!

What are Attendance Targets?

Under the Education (School Attendance Targets) (England) Regulations 2005, all schools are required to set an Attendance Target to reduce overall absence. Children’s absences are expressed as a % of the total possible attendances.

All pupils at Cumwhinton School should have an attendance percentage of 96% or above.

We will make sure that parents/carers are fully aware of their child’s/children’s attendance, for example by sending home attendance letters half termly informing all parents/carers of their child’s/children’s attendance percentage. We use the following traffic light system to categories our pupils’ attendance in school.

What does your child’s attendance rate actually mean and why is there so much concern about attendance?

It is extremely important that both home and school take children’s attendance seriously and understand the impact missing school can have on children.
If your child misses lessons or is regularly late and misses the introduction to the tasks set they are deprived of important information which will help their learning.

A child who is 5 minutes late every day misses over 3 school days in a year!

Also, interruptions by late comers are disruptive and have a negative effect on the whole class.

Although we like children to be on time, it is not always possible. Please send them late rather than not at all!

Should my child stay at home from school?

We are often asked if a child needs to be kept home from school. Often, staying at home has a more negative impact on the child than attending school with a minor ailment. If your child does not have a temperature but has a cough, cold, headache or earache then as with adults, the medical advice is to give them pain relief and send them into school. A member of our school staff will contact you if your child’s condition worsens.

If your child has been ill in the night and has had broken sleep, please consider sending them into school in the afternoon with a note. Your child may feel better and they will have the chance to join their friends and find out about homework and learning missed.

The school will not authorise all absences deemed to be an invalid reason to keep your child at home.

Medical/Dental Appointments

The school requests that pupils should not be taken out of school for non-urgent medical or dental appointments. If your child has a medical/dental appointment then a letter or appointment card must be provided. Any absences without proof will be unauthorised. These can be handed to the office staff either when you sign your child out for the appointment or at a date prior to the appointment. Whenever possible make all medical appointments at the end of the school day or outside school hours. If an appointment is made in school time your child should come to school first and/ or return after their appointment. Please be aware that the absence or illness of a pupil should not affect the education of their siblings. If a pupil has an appointment (particularly at the beginning or end of the school day) arrangements should be made to ensure that the other sibling is either dropped off or collected from school on time.

What happens if your child is absent without informing the school?

If your child is absent with no reason the school will telephone/text/e-mail parents/carers on the first day of absence. If you do not respond to the contact the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

If your child’s absence becomes a cause for concern we will inform you via letters and meetings. Strategies will be discussed to improve your child’s attendance. Any student whose attendance drops below 90% is classified as persistently absent. If there are no valid reasons for this amount of absence and improvement cannot be seen, parents are liable to be issued with either a the school will make a referral to the Attendance Legal Panel and this could result in a fixed Penalty Notice or result in court proceedings.


A child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. This will be considered a safeguarding matter.

Holidays taken during term time

The school does not permit holidays to be taken during term time. Parents/carers should be aware that the law now enforces the position regarding holidays. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which became law on 1 September 2013, state that the Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Parents/carers who take their child out of school for five or more days during term time, without the authority of the Headteacher, could be liable to receive a penalty notice.

What happens if my child falls into the ‘Persistent Absentee’ category?

Parents/guardians of ‘Persistent Absentees’ will be asked to come in to school to meet with the Deputy Headteacher and discuss the reasons for low attendance and how the school can support them to improve their child’s attendance.

If this does not improve the Deputy Headteaher will act in accordance with our school (and County) policy. This could involve an Early Help referral, home visit, referral to social care, school attendance panel, referral to school attendance officer and ultimately prosecution and a fine.

Long term or chronic medical conditions

Please talk to us if your child has a chronic or long term illness as there are a number of ways your child can maintain some education. We will always aim to support your child in being able to continue some form of education; and we will work closely with you and your child to ensure that we maintain the right balance so your child can keep up whilst checking the type and amount of school work that your child does is appropriate for them and their medical condition.

Let us work with you

At Cumwhinton School, like you, we want the very best for your children and to support all our Cumwhinton families when needed. If you are experiencing any difficulties with your child’s attendance, the best way we can support you is through early communication. If you would like to discuss your child’s attendance in more detail please contact Miss Astell (Deputy Headteacher and Attendance Lead).