Absence Procedures

Illness or absence

If a child is unavoidably absent from school parents are expected to contact school by telephone call on the morning of the first day of absence by 9am and on each subsequent day, identifying the reason for absence and the expected date of return. If no contact is received, then absence protocols will be instigated.

If a child is absent, the following actions will be initiated by the school:

  • The first day calling procedures will be activated for all pupils who are not in school after close of register at 9am and where no reason for absence is known.
  • If there is still no contact made from the pupil’s parents, a further telephone call home will be made again that morning. If no response can be gained, the child’s named emergency contact may be telephoned, or a home visit carried out
  • In certain circumstances the school may also:
  • Write to the parents of a pupil to highlight attendance or punctuality issues.
  • Invite parents to discuss how school can support the family to make improvement.
  • Refer to an external agency/ support service to offer support, guidance, and advice.
  • Refer to the Local Authority for joint enquiries to be made to establish the whereabouts of the child through Children Missing Education procedures.
  • Referral to the Inclusion Service, who may then consider a penalty notice or prosecution when all other interventions have failed.
  • Where there are safeguarding concerns, a refer to the Surrey Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPA) will be made.


  • All pupils are expected to arrive on time for every day of the school year.
  • At Sythwood Primary and Nursery School the register is taken at 8:55 am but children are expected to be in at 8:45am.  The registers are taken between 12pm and 1pm in the afternoon, depending on which year group your child is in.  Pupils arriving after 8:55am must enter school by the main entrance, accompanied by a parent or carer and report to Reception where their name and the reason for lateness will be recorded.  The pupil will be marked as late before registration has closed (Code ‘L’). 
  • The register will close at 9:15am.   Pupils arriving after the register has closed will be marked as late after registration (Code ‘U’) and this will count as an unauthorised absence.
  • Frequent lateness after the register has closed (U) will be discussed with parents and could provide grounds for prosecution or a Penalty Notice.

What parents and carers can do to support their child's attendance:

  • Take a positive interest in their child’s work and educational progress.
  • Ensure their child has regular attendance at school.
  • Instil the value of education and regular school attendance within the home environment.
  • Contact the school on a daily basis if their child is absent to let them know the reason why and the expected date of return, following this with a note wherever possible.
  • Avoid unnecessary absences; for example, by making medical and dental appointments for outside of school hours.
  • Ask the school for help if their child is experiencing difficulties with any aspect of their schoolwork or home and family life.
  • Inform the school of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance.
  • Support the school by becoming involved in their child’s education, forming a positive relationship with school, and acknowledging the importance of children receiving the same messages from both school and home.
  • Maintain effective routines at home to support good attendance and punctuality.
  • Attend all meetings requested to discuss attendance issues.


Children achieve well when they attend school regularly so we are keen to promote the welfare of your child through regular school attendance. Every day lost to education can have a serious negative impact on your child’s progress and attainment. We are committed to promoting school attendance by providing an environment where children feel safe and have positive relationships with their peers. We work closely with families to encourage maximum possible attendance and try to act on any problems with attendance promptly. If your child achieves less than 90% attendance, you will be sent a Stage 1 attendance letter. If attendance does not improve, then you will receive a Stage 2 attendance letter. If attendance still does not improve then there will be a meeting with the Local Area Inclusion Officer and parents may be fined.


Leave of absence in term time (5 days or 10 sessions or more):

  • Please be aware that The Education (Pupil Registration) (England)(Amendment)  Regulations 2013, which became law on 1st September 2013 state that Headteachers may  not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • The Headteacher is also required to determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted.
  • In such cases the Headteacher must decide whether there are exceptional circumstances.  They may request that the Local Authority issue Penalty Notices when the absence is not authorised.
  • Warnings will not be given where it can be shown that parents have been notified that such absences will not be authorised.

Amount Payable for a Penalty Notice:

  • The amount payable for a Penalty Notice issued in any of the above circumstances is currently £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the Notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days.

  • If the Penalty Notice is not paid, the Local Authority must consider a prosecution in the Magistrates Court for the offence for which the Notice was originally issued.

  • Please be aware that each parent is liable to receive a Penalty Notice for each child who incurs unauthorised absences, for example, if there are two parents and one child, each parent will receive one Penalty Notice. If there are two parents, and two children incur unauthorised absences, each parent will receive two Penalty Notices, which in this case would amount to £120 each if paid within 21 days.

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