School Matters!


Get Your Child to School on Time


An at a glance guide to school attendance


What does it mean for you and your family?

This booklet has been compiled as a guide to attendance for all parents with children of compulsory school age on roll at Lingfield Primary School.  The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.


What does regular school attendance mean?

Regular attendance means that your child must:

  • Attend school every day unless there are exceptional reasons.

  • Arrive at school on time (08.45) in correct uniform and fully prepared for the day ahead.


What can I do to help my child's attendance?

It is a parent’s legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time. Parents have a legal duty to ensure regular school attendance and failure to do so may mean committing an offence under sections 7 & 444 of the Education Act 1996.

Pupils must attend regularly if they are to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. Irregular attendance leads to an educational disadvantage.

There is a direct correlation between high absence and low attainment, as well as the impact this has on a pupil’s future employment prospects.

Please remember that during the academic year your child is at school for 190 days and at home for 175 days. Therefore, they must not be kept away from school for such reasons as:

  • Looking after others at home
  • Visiting relatives
  • Taking long weekends
  • Shopping trips
  • Birthday treats
  • Accompanying a parent on a business trip


What is classed as a good attendance percentage?

Government research shows that the recommended minimum level of attendance is 96% and anything below this is likely to impact on a child’s academic attainment.  If your child’s attendance percentage drops below this threshold then Lingfield Primary School, reserve the right to request medical evidence for any future absences. Parents will also be invited along to School attendance panel meetings to discuss issues that may be preventing their child from attending.


What should I do if my child is too unwell to attend school?

The School completely appreciates that there will be times when a pupil is just too unwell to attend school and it is for the parent to use their judgement.

Parents must ensure that they contact Mrs Musonda, the School Attendance Officer, by 09.15 on the first day of absence and every subsequent day their child is absent by calling the school office (01342) 832626 or emailing [email protected]

If your child fails to register, or is absent from school, and we have not received any notification, Mrs Musonda will call requesting information.  If there is no response to these messages within 24 hours, letters will be sent and the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Where a pupil is absent without any prior authorisation, an explanation is required. If one is not forthcoming (for whatever reason), the absence must be treated as “unauthorised”.


What should I do if my child is late for school?

Please ensure that your child arrives in good time for the school day.  Registration starts at 08.45 and registers are taken at 09.00.   Arrival after 09.00 is recorded as late (L).  Close of registers is at 09.20, children arriving after this time without a good reason will be recorded as an unauthorised absence (U) for the whole morning. 

From 09.00 the doors are closed and all children need to come in via the school office with their parent to sign the late log.  Mrs Musonda will discuss the reason for the lateness with the parent.


Can I take my child out of school for any other reason?

It is not in your child’s best interest to miss any schooling and The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which became law on 1st September 2013, states that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Therefore the answer is “no”. We will not be able to authorise any family holidays or time off. It is still imperative though that the School is informed of planned absences, no matter what the reason, for safeguarding purposes.

If a child is taken out of school without the Headteacher’s authorisation, it will be recorded as unauthorised absence.  This may lead to the issuing of a penalty notice and legal action being taken.

Penalty Notice Letter Regarding Poor Attendance at School


Section 23(1) Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2007:

Penalty notices may be issued to the parent of pupils who have unauthorised absence from school.  The amount of the penalty is £60.

  • If this is not paid within 21 days the amount rises to £120
  • If not paid within 28 days the Local Authority will prosecute under section 444(1) unless it comes to our attention that the penalty notice has been issued in error.


 Section 444(1) Education Act 1996:

‘If you are the parent of a child of compulsory school age who fails to attend school regularly, you are guilty of an offence’

The court can fine each parent up to £1,000 per child, order payment of the prosecution costs and/or make a Parenting Order.

Please note that:

  • Penalties and prosecutions are in respect of each parent for each child
  • ‘Parent’ includes any person who is not a parent of the child but who has parental responsibility for the child (and applies whether or not that person lives with the child) or who cares for him/her.


These prosecutions are criminal proceedings and could result in you having a criminal record.


If the school is concerned about my child's level of attendance, will I be informed?

Yes, as soon as your child’s attendance drops below 96%. An initial letter and attendance certificate will be sent to you and you will be invited to attend a meeting.

If, after the School has put all of the official interventions in place, there is still no improvement, a referral will be made to The Education Welfare Service by the School’s Attendance Officer.


I am concerned that my child is not ill but does not want to come to school - what should I do?

This could be for a number of reasons and must be quickly dealt with. You can contact your child’s teacher to make them aware or contact Mrs Musonda who will be able to offer advice and help with issues.


My child needs a medical appointment or orthodontic treatment during school time - what should I do?

We completely understand that certain medical appointments, such as orthodontic or hospital treatment, have to be carried out in school time and parents have very little choice on the times that they are offered. In these cases we only ask that we are given advance warning and pupils return to school as quickly as possible.

For all other appointments (such as doctor or dentist) we ask that, where possible, these are made for after school or during school holidays in order for your child to miss as little schooling as possible.