At Bishop’s Waltham Junior School the health, safety and well-being of every child is our top priority.

Attendance Information


What parents can do to help to ensure good attendance at school

Parental attitude has a key influence on a child's school attendance and parents/carers can do much to encourage even reluctant pupils to attend.

Good school attendance habits are best started early. Children learn from those around them and you as parents/carers set the standards and expectations for your child. Showing your child the importance of attending school every day not only helps your child to settle quickly when starting school but helps them to keep and maintain friendships and enjoy the school environment.

Be organised, have a plan, be consistent and involve your child.

You should:

  • create good routines for mornings at home so that your child can arrive punctually and they are properly equipped; this will also mean your mornings can start calmly too
  • make time to encourage and show interest. Chat to them about the things they have learnt, what friends they have made and even what they had for lunch! Remember children can be tired when coming out of school, so a short chat over a snack or later that evening may produce a better result than a long list of questions
  • read all school communications. A home/school diary can help with communication only when all parties use it as intended
  • attend school open evenings and functions
  • check your child understands the homework and that it has been completed. Support them in completing homework by creating a calm space for them to work in and set specific times during the week when homework should be done
  • share any education concerns your child or you may have with the appropriate member of school staff
  • set realistic boundaries and sanctions (do not impose boundaries that neither your child nor you will be able to keep, eg grounding a child for a month will not work, short periods will have much more effect)
  • avoid absence from school wherever possible – try to make doctors and dental appointments out of school hours. Absence means your child will miss out on the academic studies and will also learn that education is not the main priority within the family. This can have a lifelong effect.

Why is high attendance important to my child's education?

A child whose attendance falls below 90% may find it difficult to keep up with expected achievement

A child whose attendance falls below 80% will rarely achieve their potential


As a parent/carer you want the best for your children. Having a good education is an important factor in opening up more opportunities in adult life. Did you know that:

  • a child who is absent a day of school per week misses an equivalent of two years of their school life

  • 90% of young people with absence rates below 85% fail to achieve five or more good grades of GCSE and around one third achieve no GCSEs at all

  • poor examination results limit young people’s options and poor attendance suggests to colleges and employers that these students are unreliable

  • poor school attendance is also closely associated with crime a quarter of school age offenders have truanted repeatedly

  • at least 1 million children take at least one half day off a year without permission

  • 7.5 million school days are missed each year through unauthorised absence.


GCSEs may seem a long way off for you and your child but all absence at any stage leads to gaps in your child’s learning. This in turn can:

  • mean that they fall behind in work

  • affect their motivation

  • affect their enjoyment of learning

  • lead to poor behaviour

  • affect their desire to attend school regularly

  • affect their confidence in school

  • mean they miss out on the social life of school and extra curricular opportunities and experiences

  • affect their ability to have or keep friendships.


Your responsibilities as a parent

By law, all children of compulsory school age (normally four to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens – either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly.

Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines parent as:       

  • all natural parents, whether they are married or not;

  • any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person;

  • any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person.

Having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law.


Recording your child's attendance

Schools must take an attendance register twice a day, which is a legal document that is kept for five years. Any absences will be recorded with a specific code depending on the type of absence. Absences fall into two main categories:

  • authorised – those which schools can give you permission for

  • unauthorised – those which they will not.

Examples of absences which the school is unlikely to authorise can include:

  • sickness of a parent, or other family member

  • inadequate clothing for school

  • child being used as a carer

  • problems with transport

  • non-urgent medical treatment

  • school refusal or truancy

  • days off for birthdays, shopping trips

  • family holiday during term time since new regulations came in September 2013.         

If your child needs a leave of absence you must ask for permission in advance. The headteacher can only approve the absence if he/she views them to be exceptional reasons. The headteacher also decides on the number of days to authorise or unauthorise. You can request a leave of absence form from the school office or download a copy from the school website.


Family holidays during term time

Children have 13 weeks annual holiday from school and school holiday dates are published well in advance online. As such, all parents/carers are expected to plan and take their family holidays at this time so as not to disrupt their children’s education. The law states that parents do not have a right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. Only in exceptional circumstances may a headteacher grant permission for leave and it is the headteachers decision how many days to approve. 

Parents/carers who take their child out of school without written permission from the school can be issued with a fixed penalty fine.

Due to tightening of Government regulations about absences from school, all the schools in the Swanmore Pyramid will NOT be authorising leave of absence during term time for family holidays, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Government guidance makes it clear that the cheaper cost of a term time holiday or the need to fit in with parents’ work patterns or annual leave will not qualify as an exceptional circumstance. 

See the Department for Education for more information


What do I do if my child is unwell?

As a parent/carer you may think you can give your child permission to be at home, you cannot. The only person who can give permission for a child to be absent from school is the school’s headteacher. If your child is sick or is absent for other unforeseen reasons, you must notify the school by telephone on the first day of absence and follow this up with a note once the child returns to school. You should let the school know:

  • the nature of the illness (although you may wish to talk confidentially about this)
  • whether your child has seen their GP, or whether an appointment has been made for some other specialist service
  • how long you expect your child to be absent from school
  • the prognosis for the child’s recovery.

The school’s headteacher will decide whether or not to authorise the absence, depending upon the reason given. For absences that are expected to last up to 15 school days and that are not part of a pattern of a recurring illness, the parents/carers should arrange with the school for work and homework to be set as soon as the child is able to cope with it. The school should also agree with you how completed work will be collected, marked and returned


Is my child well enough to attend school?

When your child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. A few simple guidelines can help.

Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence.

Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is your child well enough to do the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home.
  • Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
  • Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.


Common conditions

If your child is ill, it's likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions.

Whether you send your child to school will depend on how severe you think the illness is. This guidance can help you make that judgement.

Remember: if you're concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.

  • Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they start to feel better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP. They can give guidance on whether the child should stay off school. Get more information in Common cold.

  • Raised temperature. If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn't attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better. Learn more in Feverish illness in children.

  • Rash. Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn't attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.

  • Headache. A child with a minor headache doesn't usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP.

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP. Learn more in Rotavirus gastroenteritis.

  • Sore throat. A sore throat alone doesn't have to keep a child from school. If it's accompanied by a raised temperature, the child should stay at home.  

You can read more about medicines for children's common health problems in Medicines for children.

You can get help identifying common childhood illnesses by using the Childhood illness slideshow.


Tell the school

It’s important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. On the first day of your child's illness, telephone the school to tell them that your child will be staying at home. The school may ask about the nature of the illness and how long you expect the absence to last.

If it becomes clear that your child will be away for longer than expected, phone the school as soon as possible to explain this.


Longer absence through illness, injury or medical condition

If absence is long-term or repeated schools may request proof that your child is genuinely unwell and unable to attend school as this is a key part of their safeguarding duties. Keep copies of any appointment letters or medical reports.

If your child:

  • has a long term or chronic condition, and is expected to be absent from school for a longer period
  • has intermittent attendance due to an illness (such as epilepsy or sickle cell anaemia)
  • is going to be absent from school for a period of therapy or surgery

the school may want to draw up a support plan, and consider whether to refer your child to our specialist services.

Education for pupils who are unable to attend school because of medical needs, can be provided for in the following ways:

  • children who are in-patients of most hospitals will be taught through the in hospital teaching service
  • children who are not in-patients, may receive home tutoring organised via the Education Inclusion Service and a local education centre

Children who are admitted to NHS hospitals (including psychiatric units) in other areas will receive education through local hospitals, schools or an education centre.


Possible penalties for non-attendance

Once you have registered your child at a school it is your responsibility to make sure that she/he attends regularly and punctually. If you fail to do so the Local Authority has a statutory duty to consider legal action to enforce school attendance. There are a number of legal and other avenues that the Local Authority can pursue, these include:

  • being issued a voluntary parenting contract
  • being included in the fast track system which means you will be given 12 weeks to improve your child's attendance
  • receiving a fixed penalty notice. This is a fine of £60 per parent/carer for truancy, holidays in term time or poor attendance/punctuality
  • being prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court. This means you could receive a community order, a fine of up to £2,500 per parent/carer or a custodial sentence
  • your child being issued with an education supervision order. This is an order where the child attends court and certain measures are put in place regarding attendance at school.


Application for Leave of Absence 

‘Application for Leave of Absence’ forms are available from the school office.  Also, an information booklet for parents/carers can be obtained from the school office which explains all the guidelines surrounding holidays during term time. Thank you in advance for your continued support.

(NOTE: you may fill in this form and email it back to us if you prefer!)

LeaveofAbsenceRequestForm.pdf .pdf
PenaltyNoticeLeaflet.pdf .pdf
SchoolAttendanceInformationLeafletproducedbyHampshireCountyCouncil.pdf .pdf
Attendancepolicycoronavirusaddendum.doc.pdf .pdf
AttendancePolicy.pdf .pdf