Attendance

Importance of good attendance

The School day begins at 8.50AM and finishes at 3.15PM. The total hours a child spends at school each week is 32.5.

When children regularly attend school, their attainment and reading skills improve. Children who regularly attend school feel more connected to the school community and develop strong social skills and friendships - important life skills. These children also are much more likely to develop healthy life habits and be successful beyond their years in school. The table below shows how missing school can have an impact on children’s learning.

Research has shown that children who miss an average of two days of school per month struggle to keep up with their friends academically, resulting in lower attainment and reading skills. The effects of frequent absences are noticeable from as early as Reception.

Punctuality

Punctuality also forms a key part of school attendance. By arriving to school punctually your child has time to connect with their friends, greet their teacher and settle in before the day begins. At the start of the school day, teachers communicate important information about the day and what the class will be learning. Every morning, there is an Early Morning Learning Activity for children to complete, being late may also mean that your child misses out on this learning. Missing out on this time can leave children feeling confused and unsettled. Children can feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about being late and may therefore become reluctant to come into school.

The school gates open at 8.40am each day and closes at 8:50. Registration is at 8.50am, after this your child will be considered late and will need to go to the office to register.

Top tips to being on time:

Top Tips for being on Time:

  • Establish good bedtime routines so your child has enough sleep and doesn't struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Make sure your child has breakfast. Alternatively, bring them to our school Breakfast Club - A healthy start to the day with lots of fun activities! Breakfast Club opens daily at 8am. and costs £3 per day.
  • Prepare lunches and snacks the night before.
  • Put out uniform and pack school bags the night before, you don't want to be searching for books, bags or PE kit in the morning!
  • Leave bags, coats and shoes by the front door and put your keys somewhere easy to find.

If your child arrives after 9.30am, when the registers close, your child’s late arrival will count towards their overall absence rate.

It is really important that you pick your children up from school on time. Children who are not picked up on time are often upset and worried. 

We understand that sometimes unavoidable events may make you late. If this is the case, please phone us to let us know as soon as possible. 

If you are frequently unable to pick your child up on time you will need to arrange after school care. To book your child a place at our after school club please contact the school office by email admin@southmarstonprimary.co.uk 

Medical Appointments

Where possible, routine dental and medical appointments should be booked after the school day or during the school holidays. The Department for Education expects that if you have to make an appointment for your child during the school day, you will bring them to school before and/or after their appointment. Attending before and/or after an appointment means your child misses as little learning time as possible. Please let us know about any appointments in advance, this will mean your child’s teacher can help them catch up with any work they may miss out on, it also means they will be ready when you arrive to collect them.  You will be asked for medical documents, an appointment confirmation text or an appointment card if your child is absent due to a dental/medical appointment.

Leave of Absence

You must email the school office if you wish to take your child out of school during term time, this applies no matter how long the absence is for.

You may only request a leave of absence for your child in exceptional circumstances. Leave of absence requests should be made no later than two weeks before the first date of absence. 

The Department for Education Working Together to Improve School Attendance guidance Code H: leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday granted by the school (p58) states:

  • 215. Parents should plan their holidays around school breaks and avoid seeking permission from schools to take their children out of school during term time unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
  • 216. An application for leave of absence should not be granted unless it is made in advance by a parent the pupil normally lives with and the school is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances based on the individual facts and circumstance of the case which justify the leave. Where a leave of absence is granted, the school will determine the number of days a pupil can be absent from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the headteacher’s discretion.

All requests for leave of absence during term time will be considered by the Headteacher and will be assessed on an individual basis. The Headteacher will take into consideration the impact of missed learning, current attainment expectations, attendance history and any special circumstances. 

Before a decision regarding approval can be made the Headteacher may wish to meet with you to discuss your request further. You will be informed if your request for a leave of absence during term time has been granted by email. 

Managing Attendance and Absence

Attendance, punctuality and absence is monitored very carefully and is checked daily. If a child does not arrive at school and we have not heard from you, we will make contact with you to establish the reason for the absence and to ensure our child is safe. Every fortnight attendance data is shared with the class teachers and senior leadership team so that any concerns can be discussed. Each term we meet with our Education Welfare Consultant who supports us to improve the attendance of any pupils where there is a concern.

If we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance we will make contact with you to express our concern. If, following our communication, there is no improvement in attendance we will then meet with you with the aim of working together to identify and remove any barriers to good attendance and to implement strategies for improvement.

Please be aware that parents/carers commit an offence if a child does not attend school regularly and the absence is not agreed by school (i.e., the absence is unauthorised). A pupil's unauthorised absence from school could result in one of the following:

  1. Penalty Notice. The penalty is £60 payable (per parent, per child) within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. Penalty Notices may be used where absence is unauthorised and a pupil has 8 or more sessions (1 day = 2 sessions) of unauthorised absences within the previous 10 week period. Failure to pay may result in prosecution.

  2. Prosecution. Under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. Prosecution could result in a criminal record and fines up to £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.

To avoid formal action being taken it is vital that you engage and work closely with us, and any support agencies such as the Education Welfare Service, to improve your child’s attendance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s attendance, or would like some support with getting your child to school please contact us.

Attendance Policy

Pupil Attendance Policy

Contact Us

Happy to answer any questions

Address

  • Old Vicarage Lane
    South Marston, Swindon
    Wiltshire
    SN3 4SH

Telephone Number