Attendance and Punctuality
Good attendance and punctuality are essential if you are to succeed at the Academy, in fact research shows that there is a direct link between good attendance and academic progress and achievement. Research shows that even short breaks from school can reduce a student’s chances of succeeding at school by as much as a quarter. This research, based on extensive student absence figures in both GCSE and primary school test results, highlights the importance of student’s regular attendance at school in order to prepare them for the qualifications needed to succeed.
We expect all students to aim for 100% attendance. However, there may be times when your child has to miss school because they are too ill to attend. Therefore, we realistically expect a minimum attendance of 97%. In order to achieve this, a student can only have a maximum of 5 days’ absence in the whole academic year.
Time spent away from school, whether for a family holiday or minor illness, disrupts the structured school terms. Every day at school counts enormously for students but so does every consecutive day attended. Students need to absorb new facts and knowledge, acquire new skills and consolidate those skills before building further and progressing.
Being ‘Fully Invested’ means having good attendance. Good attendance means being in school at least 97% of the time.
- There is a clear link between good attendance and higher levels of attainment
- Good attendance promotes lifelong skills
- Attendance is the first thing employers ask about
Key Attendance Points
- All students must be on Academy grounds no later than 08:25.
- Students should attend the Academy everyday unless they are too poorly, excuses such as buying new shoes, Christmas shopping, birthdays, looking after brothers, sisters and parents, it is the last day of term etc are NOT reasons to be absent.
- If your child is absent from the Academy you must telephone as early as possible with a reason.
- The Academy has the right to request medical evidence as proof of illness/appointments. If requested and you fail to produce these, absences will be unauthorised and a fine may be issued.
- No holidays will be authorised unless in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Principal.
The academy will use a range of strategies to improve student attendance. The range of sanctions will include:
- Academic Mentor attendance discussions
- Pastoral Leader visit
- Attendance report
- Visit from the Attendance Officer
- Attendance Focus Group
- Parental Meeting
- Penalty Notice
The Academy must be notified on the first day of your child’s absence.
To inform the Academy please contact the Attendance Office directly on 01709 856952 or via Reception on 01709 864100
Mrs D Wood Attendance Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs E Clark Student Receptionist - email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
My child cannot attend school today, what should I do?
Telephone the Academy on 01709 856952 or 01709 864100 on the first morning of any absence; evidence of authorised appointments should be provided on returning to the Academy.
When is my child classed as being late?
Students must be in school no later than 8.20am. Any student arriving after this time will be classified as late. Failure to do so will result in the issuing of a C3 (30 minute detention). Please notify the Academy immediately if there is a valid reason for your child being late to school.
Why should my child attend school?
A child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. Therefore, failing to attend our school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter.
Safeguarding the interests of each student is everyone's responsibility and within the context of our school, promoting the welfare and life opportunities for a child encompasses:
- Behaviour Management
- Health and Safety
- Access to the curriculum
Why is regular attendance so important?
Learning and Achievement: - There is a clear link between high attendance and high achievement.
- Of students who miss more than 50% of school, only 3% manage to achieve 5 GCSEs at the National standard including English and Maths.
- Of students who miss between 10% and 20% of school, only 35% manage to achieve 5 GCSEs at the National standard including English and Maths.
- Of students who miss less than 5% of school, 73% achieve 5 GCSEs at the National standard including English and Maths.
When is my child’s absence authorised?
Absence for the following reasons could be authorised where parents have confirmed the absence in writing on their child’s return to Sir Thomas Wharton Academy.
- Sickness (if current attendance is 97% or more)
- Unavoidable medical/dental appointments
- Days of religious observance
- Exceptional family circumstances i.e. bereavement
- If permission for absence has been granted by the Principal
It may be necessary for the Academy to ask the parent/carer to provide the Academy with written evidence of reason for absence e.g.
- Appointment cards/letters
- Medical certificate
- Letter from GP (doctor)
What is unauthorised absence?
Unauthorised absences are those which the Academy does not consider reasonable and for which no "leave" has been given. This includes:
- Parents/carer's keeping children off school unnecessarily;
- Absence for illness when attendance is below 94.5% (National target) unless medical evidence is provided.
- Truancy before or during the school day;
- Absences which have never been properly explained;
- Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark;
- Shopping, looking after other children or birthdays;
- Day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.
Please note – the rule of students taking 48 hours off school following a sickness bug, often applied in Primary Schools, does not apply at Secondary School.
Can I book a family holiday during term time?
Family holidays should not be arranged during term time. The Department for Education make it clear that there is no entitlement for parents to take their child on holiday in term time. Any leave must be only in exceptional circumstances and a request must be made to the Head Teacher, in the first instance, at least 21 days in advance of the proposed absence.
Add exceptional leave of absence form here
What does persistent absenteeism mean?
A student becomes a 'Persistent Absentee' when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year, for whatever reason. Absence at this level will do considerable damage to any child's educational prospects and we need parents/carer's full support and cooperation to tackle this. Any case that reaches the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards the mark will be given priority and you will be informed of this immediately.
What if my child refuses to attend school?
Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually makes things worse. Please contact the Academy immediately so we can help and support in getting your child back into school.
How will the Academy help my child have regular attendance?
The Academy will:
Report on a termly basis to all parents/carers within the progress report, informing them of their child's attendance and punctuality rate;
Celebrate good attendance by displaying both individual and mentor group achievements (updated on a weekly basis);
Reward individual students 100% weekly attendance;
Reward the highest tutor group attendance on a weekly basis through assemblies;
Reward good or improving attendance through certificates issued in assemblies on a termly basis;
Inform parents/carers through a letter or direct contact once their child’s attendance falls below 97%, the student will be placed on monitoring with an attendance plan
What are my responsibilities as a parent/carer?
Ensuring my child regularly and punctually attends Sir Thomas Wharton Academy, properly dressed, equipped and in an appropriate condition to learn;
Immediately informing the Academy of the reason for any absence by telephone call on the first morning of any absence; evidence of authorised appointments should be provided on returning to the Academy;
To work actively with Sir Thomas Wharton Academy staff to solve attendance problems where these develop;
Do not extend to having a right to take students on holiday in term time; leave of absence must be granted in advance by the Sir Thomas Wharton Academy; only applications will be considered in extenuating circumstances and against the student’s attendance record, family circumstances and timing with regard to assessments and examinations.
How can I help?
- Ensuring your child attends school and is punctual.
- Reinforcing the importance of good attendance and the link between attendance and progress.
- Informing school in advance of any planned absences, e.g. hospital appointments that cannot be made out of school hours, and only taking the minimum amount of time off required for the appointment.
- Making all non-urgent doctor and dentist appointments outside of school hours or in the school holidays.
- Informing school by 8.30am on the morning of the first day of an unplanned absence.
- Contacting your child’s tutor/pastoral leader if you have any concerns that may affect attendance.
Will I be prosecuted if my child does not attend school?
Yes. Taking a holiday during term time, persistent absence, or persistent late arrival to school will result in a referral to the Local Authority and will lead to prosecution proceedings, or a Fixed Penalty Notice. Fixed Penalty Notices amount to £60 but this rises to £120 if it is not paid in 21 days; if the fine remains unpaid, you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school. You can find more information about the legal action local councils and schools can take at the following address: