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Attendance Policy

Ashcombe Primary School




         Attendance Policy



Approved by:

Kaleidoscope Trust Board

Date:  07/09/22

Last reviewed on:


Next review due by:

Sept 23





1. Aims. 3

2. Legislation and guidance. 3

3. Roles and responsibilities. 3

4. Recording attendance. 5

5. Authorised and unauthorised absence. 7

6. Strategies for promoting attendance. 8

7. Attendance monitoring. 8

8. Monitoring arrangements. 9

9. Links with other policies. 9

Appendix 1: attendance codes. 9




1. Aims

Kaleidoscope Multi Academy Trust (KMAT) and its schools are committed to meeting our obligation with regards to school attendance through our whole-school culture and ethos that values good attendance, including:

  • Promoting good attendance
  • Reducing absence, including persistent and severe absence
  • Ensuring every pupil has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled
  • Acting early to address patterns of absence
  • Building strong relationships with families to ensure pupils have the support in place to attend school

We will also promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

2. Legislation and guidance

This policy meets the requirements of the working together to improve school attendance from the Department for Education (DfE), and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on school attendance parental responsibility measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance:

This policy also refers to the DfE’s guidance on the school census, which explains the persistent absence threshold.

3. Roles and responsibilities

3.1 The Trust Board

The Trust Board is responsible for:

  • Promoting the importance of attendance within KMAT schools and across the KMAT policies and ethos
  • Making sure school leaders fulfil expectations and statutory duties across the MAT
  • Regularly reviewing and challenging attendance data at MAT Level and school level
  • Monitoring attendance figures for MAT schools
  • Making sure staff receive adequate training on attendance
  • Holding the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School to account for the implementation of this policy

3.2 The Local Governing Board (LGB)

The Trust Board delegate local monitoring of attendance to the which is LGB is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the importance of school attendance in MAT policies is promoted within the running of the school and its ethos
  • Making sure school leaders fulfil KMAT expectations and statutory duties
  • Regularly reviewing and challenging attendance data
  • Monitoring attendance figures for the whole school
  • Making sure staff receive adequate training on attendance
  • Holding the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School to account for the implementation of this policy

3.2 The Headteacher /Executive Headteacher/Head of School

The Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School is responsible for:

  • Implementation of this policy at the school
  • Monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to Governors and the CEO
  • Supporting staff with monitoring the attendance of individual pupils
  • Monitoring the impact of any implemented attendance strategies
  • Issuing fixed-penalty notices, where necessary

3.3 The designated senior leader responsible for attendance

The designated senior leader is responsible for:

  • Leading attendance across the school
  • Offering a clear vision for attendance improvement
  • Evaluating and monitoring expectations and processes
  • Having an oversight of data analysis
  • Devising specific strategies to address areas of poor attendance identified through data
  • Arranging calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues
  • Delivering targeted intervention and support to pupils and families

3.4 The Attendance Officer (This may be the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School)

The school attendance officer is responsible for:

  • Monitoring and analysing attendance data (see section 7)
  • Benchmarking attendance data to identify areas of focus for improvement
  • Providing regular attendance reports to school staff and reporting concerns about attendance to the designated senior leader responsible for attendance and the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School if they are not the Attendance Officer.
  • Working with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence
  • Advising the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School if they are not the Attendance Officer (authorised by the headteacher) when to issue fixed-penalty notices

3.5 Class Teachers

Class Teachers are responsible for recording attendance on a daily basis, using the correct codes, and submitting this information to the school office first thing in the morning and when the children return from lunch break.

3.6 School admin/office staff

School admin/office staff will:

  • Take calls from parents about absence on a day-to-day basis and record it on the school system
  • Transfer calls from parents  to the nominated senior leader/pastoral lead in order to provide them with more detailed support on attendance

3.7 Parents/carers

Parents/carers are expected to:

  • Make sure their child attends every day on time
  • Call the school to report their child’s absence before 9.00 on the day of the absence and each subsequent day of absenc), and advise when they are expected to return
  • Provide the school with more than 1 emergency contact number for their child
  • Ensure that, where possible, appointments for their child are made outside of the school day

3.8 Pupils

Pupils are expected to:

  • Attend school every day on time

4. Recording attendance

4.1 Attendance Register

We will keep an attendance register, and place all pupils onto this register. KMAT schools use the Scholarpack system to record the attendance register.

We will take our attendance register at the start of the first session of each school day and once during the second session. It will mark whether every pupil is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Any amendment to the attendance register will include:

  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment

See appendix 1 for the DfE attendance codes.

We will also record:

  • [For pupils of compulsory school age] Whether the absence is authorised or not
  • The nature of the activity if a pupil is attending an approved educational activity
  • The nature of circumstances where a pupil is unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

We will keep every entry on the attendance register for 3 years after the date on which the entry was made.




Pupils must arrive in school on time each school day.


Start Time





Christ Church






St Martin’s


Worle Village

EYFS and KS 8.50

KS2 8.40



The registers at each school will be taken at the times listed below, and will be kept open no longer than 15 minutes.



Morning Register

Afternoon Register






EYFS and KS1 – 1

KS2 – 1.15

Christ Church








EYFS. KS1, Yr 3 and 4 – 1.00

Yrs 5 and 6 – 1.15

St Martin’s


EYFS and KS1 – 12.50

KS2 – 1.25

Worle Village

EYFS and KS 8.50

KS2 8.40



4.2 Unplanned absence

The pupil’s parent/carer must notify the school of the reason for the absence on the first day of an unplanned absence by 9.00  or as soon as practically possible by calling the school office (see also section 7). If the school has not received notification  of absence by 9.30, they will contact the parent to check.

We will mark absence due to illness as authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask the pupil’s parent/carer to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents/carers will be notified of this in advance.

4.3 Planned absence

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment.

Parents should complete the Leave of Absence Form to request an absence (in advance of the absence).

However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

The pupil’s parent/carer must also apply for other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible of the requested absence. Go to section 5 to find out which term-time absences the school can authorise.

4.4 Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives late:

  • Before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code
  • After the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code
  • If pupils are late more than 3 times, then the parent/carer is contacted
  • If pupils are persistently late or there are recurring patterns to lateness then parent/carers will be invited to a meeting

4.5 Where any pupil we expect to attend school does not attend, or stops attending, without reason, the school will:

  • Call the pupil’s parent/carer on the morning of the first day of unexplained absence to ascertain the reason. If the school cannot reach any of the pupil’s emergency contacts, the school may contact the police or where relevant other agencies who work with the child/family.
  • Identify whether the absence is approved or not
  • Identify the correct attendance code to use and input it as soon as the reason for absence is ascertained – this will be no later than 5 working days after the session
  • Call the parent/carer on each day that the absence continues without explanation to ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary. If absence continues, the school will consider involving an Education Welfare Officer

4.6 Reporting to parents/carers

The school will regularly inform parents about their child’s attendance and absence levels. This is done through an annual report and more directly and frequently if absence becomes a concern.

5. Authorised and unauthorised absence

5.1 Approval for term-time absence

The Headteacher/Head of School/Executive Headteacher will only grant a leave of absence to a pupil during term time if they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'. A leave of absence is granted at the Headteacher’s/Executive Headteacher’s/Head of School’s discretion, including the length of time the pupil is authorised to be absent for.

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request.

Any request should be submitted as soon as it is anticipated and, where possible, at least 2 weeks before the absence, and in accordance with any leave of absence request form, accessible via the school office and school website. The Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School may require evidence to support any request for leave of absence.

Valid reasons for authorised absence for exceptional circumstances  include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments (see sections 4.2 and 4.3 for more detail
  • If a parent is service personnel and is returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.
  • Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue
  • The death or terminal illness of a close relative, only if Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional;
  • To attend a wedding or funeral of a close relative if the Headteacher/Executive Headteacher/Head of School is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional; If exceptional circumstances are agreed, only one day will be authorized. If the wedding is abroad and forms part of a holiday, any additional days will be recorded as unauthorised.
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong.  If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh gypsies, Irish and Scottish travellers, showmen (fairground people) and circus people, bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and new travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school, but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision


Other possible ‘exceptional circumstances’ where the Head teacher may authorise an absence include

  • Where pupil is involved in a specific event – e.g. performance, sporting (Documentary evidence of this event will be required)
  • Flexi-schooling requests – where agreed by the Headteacher

5.2 Legal sanctions

The school or local authority can fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age.

If issued with a fine, or penalty notice, each parent must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority.

Penalty notices can be issued by a headteacher, local authority officer or the police.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice may take into account:

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission
  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute or withdraw the notice.

6. Strategies for promoting attendance

KMAT schools will promote good attendance by

  • Highlighting attendance and punctuality on websites, newsletters, specific letters
  • Promote the importance of good attendance in assemblies
  • Promote the importance of attendance and punctuality at parents meetings including new intake meetings
  • Raining the importance of attendance during consultation evenings
  • Using the approaches outlined above when attendance causes a concern
  • Using a range of awards systems (school specific) e.g. certificates, stickers

7. Attendance monitoring

7.1 Monitoring attendance

KMAT school’s will:

  • Monitor attendance and absence data half-termly, termly and yearly across the school and at an individual pupil level
  • Identify whether or not there are particular groups of children whose absences may be a cause for concern

Pupil-level absence data will be collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. The school will compare attendance data to the national average, and share this with the CEO (who will in turn report to the Trust Board) and the LGB. In addition to this the FFT system measures attendance data across the country for those schools which use its service. FFT will produce Attendance reports to support monitoring of school attendance.

7.2 Analysing attendance

The school will:

  • Analyse attendance and absence data regularly to identify pupils or cohorts that need additional support with their attendance, and use this analysis to provide targeted support to these pupils and their families
  • Look at historic and emerging patterns of attendance and absence, and then develop strategies to address these patterns 

7.3 Using data to improve attendance

The school will:

  • Provide regular attendance reports to class teachers, and other school leaders, to facilitate discussions with pupils and families
  • Use data to monitor and evaluate the impact of any interventions put in place in order to modify them and inform future strategies

7.4 Reducing persistent and severe absence

Persistent absence is where a pupil misses 10% or more of school, and severe absence is where a pupil misses 50% or more of school.

The school will:

  • Use attendance data to find patterns and trends of persistent and severe absence
  • Write to parents/carers where attendance is a concern.
  • Hold regular meetings with the parents of pupils who the school (and/or local authority) considers to be vulnerable, or are persistently or severely absent, to discuss attendance and engagement at school
  • Provide access to wider support services to remove the barriers to attendance
  • Involve the Education Welfare Officer where attendance continues to be a concern and hasn’t improved.
  • Involve the local authority to issue fines or seek court action – see 5.1

8. Monitoring arrangements

This policy will be reviewed as guidance from the local authority or DfE is updated, or every 2 years. At every review, the policy will be approved by the full Trust Board

9. Links with other policies

This policy links to the following policies:

  • Child protection and safeguarding policy
  • Behaviour policy

Appendix 1: attendance codes

The following codes are taken from the DfE’s guidance on school attendance.





Present (am)

Pupil is present at morning registration


Present (pm)

Pupil is present at afternoon registration


Late arrival

Pupil arrives late before register has closed


Off-site educational activity

Pupil is at a supervised off-site educational activity approved by the school


Dual registered

Pupil is attending a session at another setting where they are also registered



Pupil has an interview with a prospective employer/educational establishment


Sporting activity

Pupil is participating in a supervised sporting activity approved by the school


Educational trip or visit

Pupil is on an educational visit/trip organised, or approved, by the school


Work experience

Pupil is on a work experience placement







Authorised absence


Authorised leave of absence

Pupil has been granted a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances



Pupil has been excluded but no alternative provision has been made


Authorised holiday

Pupil has been allowed to go on holiday due to exceptional circumstances



School has been notified that a pupil will be absent due to illness


Medical/dental appointment

Pupil is at a medical or dental appointment


Religious observance

Pupil is taking part in a day of religious observance


Study leave

Year 11 pupil is on study leave during their  public examinations


Gypsy, Roma and traveller absence

Pupil from a traveller community is travelling, as agreed with the school

Unauthorised absence


Unauthorised holiday

Pupil is on a holiday that was not approved by the school


Reason not provided

Pupil is absent for an unknown reason (this code should be amended when the reason emerges, or replaced with code O if no reason for absence has been provided after a reasonable amount of time)


Unauthorised absence

School is not satisfied with reason for pupil's absence


Arrival after registration

Pupil arrived at school after the register closed







Not required to be in school

Pupil of non-compulsory school age is not required to attend


Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

School site is closed, there is disruption to travel as a result of a local/national emergency, or pupil is in custody


Pupil not on admission register

Register set up but pupil has not yet joined the school


Planned school closure

Whole or partial school closure due to half-term/bank holiday/INSET day