Chestnuts Primary School > Curriculum > Attendance and Punctuality
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Attendance and Punctuality

Sam Sear

Good attendance at school is important for academic progress, social interaction with peers and forming good habits for life. Studies have shown a direct link between attendance, school achievement and life chances.

Responsibility of the parent/carer

Children must receive a full-time education from the school term after their fifth birthday. If your child fails to attend school regularly, you may be guilty of a criminal offence, and this could result in a prosecution.

What does Good Attendance look like?

8:40am gates open

8:50am gates close

8:55am registers close

3:15pm home time

If a pupil does not attend school or take part in an approved educational activity, they are classed as absent from school. Whether this absence is authorised or unauthorised, this still affects a child’s attendance.

Authorised Absences Unauthorised Absences
Illness of the pupil (not a parent or family member)

Urgent medical and dental appointments

For the purpose of religious observation (one day only)

Immediate family bereavements

An educational event or trip

Fixed term exclusions

Shopping trips



Lateness after 8.55am

School refusal

Parents are unwell and unable to get the child to school

School staff have cause to believe that the reason is not genuine


The government believe that children should be in school with 100% attendance. At Chestnuts, we understand that this may not be the case for all children and will therefore work with families when a child’s attendance drops below 95%.

How you can help:

  • Contact school each day you child is off school
  • If your child has a medical appointment, please ensure they don’t have the whole day; come into school before and after where possible
  • Communicate with the school if there are any issues at home we can support you with or that may be affecting attendance
  • Bring in medical evidence e.g. a prescription, appointment card, hospital letter. Whether the absence is authorised is dependent on their attendance record and the discretion of the Headteacher
  • Only take your child on holiday during the allocated school breaks (which is 13 weeks). Term-time holidays are only granted in “exceptional circumstances”. Fines will be issued by MK Council if holidays are taken during school time.

Monitoring attendance

  • Daily am/pm registers
  • Reasons for absence recorded
  • Regular whole school attendance data analysis by our attendance lead, Mrs Sear

Improving attendance

  • Letter sent when a child’s attendance drops below 95%
  • Letter sent when a child’s attendance improves
  • Supportive phone call to parent/carer to discuss absence reasons and support offered
  • Pupil voice heard and support offered
  • Pupil attendance passport to track and reward daily attendance against an individual target
  • Attendance stickers and certificates
  • Green Trackit Light awarded each day a pupil is in school and on time
  • Daily class attendance percentage on classroom doors
  • Weekly reward for classes that meet the school attendance target
  • Class attendance ambassadors that work alongside our attendance lead

What happens if my child’s attendance does not improve?

If your child’s attendance is below 95%, feel assured that we will look into the reasons for absence provided; however, please understand that as a school, we have a duty to look into poor attendance and work alongside families to improve this.

A parent/carer meeting will be set up with our attendance lead, Mrs Sear, to discuss reasons for absence and collaboratively, create a supportive plan to improve attendance. This plan will be monitored and reviewed as necessary.

If your child’s attendance continues to decline, an attendance meeting will be set up alongside Mrs Sear with our chair of governors, Wayne Scott.

Unfortunately, if your child’s attendance shows no signs of improvement after support has been offered, you may face a fine/prosecution.

Reporting Absence

We ask you to contact the school office (01908 373748) or via ParentMail to explain a student’s absence. We kindly request you do this before the start of the school day at 8:45am.

Please note – if you do not report a reason for your child’s absence, we have a legal duty to obtain the whereabouts of your child. We will try to make contact through text/email/phone calls; however, if unsuccessful, a home visit will be carried out by staff followed by a fear for welfare check to the police.

Unavoidable Time Off

We ask our parents/carers not to keep students off school unless the absence is absolutely unavoidable. Where this is the case, please can parents/carers:

  • Contact school on the first day of absence to provide a reason for non-attendance.
  • Request leave of absence in term time for exceptional circumstance only by completing a form.
  • Work with the school and any other agency to resolve any difficulties which may affect regular school attendance.

Holidays During Term Time

At Chestnuts, we do not expect holidays to be taken in term time as this has an impact on students’ progress. Leave of absence can be requested; however, it will be authorised only in exceptional circumstances.

Please be aware that if you choose to take a holiday with your child during term time, the Local Authority will be informed. A Fixed Penalty Notice will then be issued in accordance with section 444 of the Education Act 1996. The amount of the penalty is £60 per parent/carer if paid within 21 days, increasing thereafter if left unpaid.

Punctuality Matters

Lateness to school has a negative impact to the start of a day: a child is unsettled, out of routine and has missed the start of their learning with further impact on the rest of the school, who are disturbed with learning hindered.

If a pupil arrives after the register has closed, they are marked as late in the register. If a pupil arrives after 9:30am, they are marked as an unauthorised absence due to the amount of morning learning missed.

Below is a graph showing how being late to school every day over a school year, adds up to lost learning time.