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C of E Primary School

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Attendance at Heathlands

At Heathlands, we believe in developing good patterns of attendance and set high expectations for the attendance and punctuality for all our pupils from the outset. It is a central part of our school’s vision, values, ethos, and day to day life. We recognise the connections between attendance, attainment, safeguarding and wellbeing.

Where parents decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends that school regularly. This means your child must attend every day that the school is open, except in a small number of allowable circumstances such as being too ill to attend or being given permission for an absence in advance from the school.

Here at Heathlands, we do understand there may be genuine absence, and will work alongside families on an individual basis to understand the reasons.

The new guidance states:


There will be a single consistent national threshold for when a penalty notice must be considered by all schools in England of 10 sessions (usually equivalent to 5 school days) of unauthorised absence within a rolling 10 school week period.

These sessions do not have to be consecutive and can be made up of a combination of any type of unauthorised absence.

For example: a 5 day holiday would meet the national threshold.

The 10-school week period can span different terms or school years.  


School Opening Hours

School Gates Open: 8:45-8:55am

Children dismissed: 3:15pm

Total weekly time: 32.5 hours


What is the process supporting good attendance?



Excellent attendance in school


Good attendance in school.


Children with attendance below 95% attendance are at risk of being classed as ‘Persistently absent’.

Families will receive a letter home highlighting this risk.


Children with attendance below 95% attendance are at significant risk of being classed as ‘Persistently absent’.

Families will receive a letter home to highlight this risk and request a meeting to look at ways we can support.

Less than 90%

This is classed as ‘Persistently Absent’.

Advice will be sought from the Attendance team at Essex County Council.

Families will receive a letter explaining what may happen if attendance does not improve.

How do I report my child absent?

• Contact the school on the first day of absence before 9.20 am. The school has an absence line available to leave a message, or you may call into school personally and speak to the office staff

• Contact the school on every further day of absence, again before 9.20 am

• Ensure that your child returns to school as soon as possible and you provide any medical evidence, if requested, to support the absence

If your child is absent we will:

• Telephone or text you on the first, and every subsequent day of absence, if we have not heard from you however it is your responsibility to contact us

• If we are unable to make contact with parents by telephone, we will telephone emergency contact numbers, send letters home and a home visit/welfare check may be made by the Senior team, in the interests of safeguarding

• A referral will be made to Local Authority if no contact has been made with parents by the 10th day of absence (or sooner if deemed appropriate), at which point your child will be considered to be “missing from education.”


Can we take holidays during term time?

There is no entitlement in law for pupils to take time off during the term to go on holiday.

In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that the definition of regular school attendance is “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 were amended in September 2013. All references to family holidays and extended leave have been removed. The amendments specify that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are "exceptional circumstances" and they no longer have any discretion to authorise up to ten days of absence each academic year.

At Heathlands, a leave of absence shall not be granted in term time unless there are reasons considered to be exceptional by the headteacher, irrespective of the child’s overall attendance. Only the headteacher or his/her designate (not the local authority) may authorise such a request and all applications for a leave of absence must be made in writing on the prescribed form provided by the school. PLEASE NOTE NEW ABSENCE REQUEST FORM IN USE FROM JAN 2023.

Where a parent removes a child when the application for leave was refused or where no application was made to the school, the issue of a penalty notice may be requested by Heathlands, in accordance with the Essex Code of Conduct.


Why does Punctuality matter?

  • It’s respectful to your teacher and to your classmates whose lessons are disrupted if you’re late.
  • It leads to better achievement because you attend the WHOLE of all of your lessons
  • School is important and education is valuable
  • It builds good habits for later in life when your employer pays you to be on time.


What impact does lateness have?

  • Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year.
  • Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.
  • Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year.
  • 19 days lost a year through being late means 90% attendance.


If your child has a persistent late record, you will be asked to meet with the Head teacher or Deputy Head but you can approach us at any time if you are having difficulties getting your child to school on time. We expect parents and staff to encourage good punctuality by being good role models to our children and celebrate good class and individual punctuality.


The names and contact details of the senior leaders responsible for the strategic approach to attendance in our school are: Joseph Fielder - / Melanie Cork –

Request for absence form

NHS/ECC guidance for attending school - Medical reasons

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