At Northbrook Primary Academy we aim for our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education and it is vital that they attend regularly and are at school, on time, every day, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. We have high expectations for punctuality and attendance levels for our pupils. We believe it is vital for parents and school to support each other in maximising their children’s attendance to enable them to achieve their potential. We have policies and procedures in place to support families to achieve this.

Attendance Documents



1. Why is good attendance important? 

Good attendance is vital for your child to achieve their full educational potential. At Northbrook Primary Academy we expect students to achieve a good attendance of 98%. Pupils with good attendance records benefit in the following ways: 

  • Continuity of learning which makes progress and retention easier 

  • Improved performance in classwork 

  • Enhanced performance in quizzes and tests 

  • Continuity of relationships and friendships 

  • Good references for their transition to secondary school 

  • Good habits are formed for later life 


2. What can I do if my child is starting to present attendance difficulties? 

These difficulties can show themselves in a number of different ways e.g. feigning illness, reluctance or failure to attend school. If this occurs: 

  • Contact us as soon as possible to make us aware. 

  • Talk to your child to try to ascertain if there are any problems or worries at, or on the journey to or from the Academy. 

  • If a problem seems to be emerging parents should initially contact the Mrs H Cole 01772 421599 or e-mail  

  • Consider seeking advice from appropriate websites such as School Attendance and Absence  


3. What constitutes good attendance? 

Attendance needs to be 96-98% before it can be considered good. Consider the following examples: 

  • An attendance record of 90% might seem good but is equal to 19 days missed per year or 95 hours of learning lost. If this continues from Years 1 to 6, over six months education will be lost! 

  • An attendance record of 85% might seem acceptable but is equal to 29 days missed per year. If this continues from Reception to Year 6, more than a whole academic year will be lost! 

Each year, a number of students in every year group achieve 100% attendance records, showing that this is an achievable target. In addition, a number of children have achieved this level of attendance in successive years. At Northbrook Primary Academy we work on the following attendance descriptors: 

  • 100% = Excellent attendance 

  • 98% = Good attendance 

  • 95% = Satisfactory attendance 

  • Below 94.9% = Cause for concern 

  • 93% = Unsatisfactory 

  • Below 90% = Serious cause for concern 


4. What does the school do to encourage good attendance? 

We consider excellent attendance to be of such importance that we place a great deal of emphasis on it and put considerable resources into promoting it. Below are listed some of the strategies used: 

  • Individual rewards for Students with good and excellent attendance records 

  • School, year group and tutor groups targets are set for attendance and individual targets where necessary 

  • Regular attendance information sent to parents to assist them in monitoring their child’s attendance 

  • Regular promotion of good attendance in assemblies, student notices and at parents’ evenings 

  • Detailed analysis of attendance figures and trends for individuals, year groups and the whole school 

  • Regular reports to governors 

  • Computerised registration system  

  • A member of the support staff dedicated to the administration of attendance 

  • Contact with parents on the first day of absence 

  • Close working partnership with the Local Authority’s Schools' Attendance Service 

  • Support for students and parents where attendance difficulties are emerging 


5. What can parents do to support their child to achieve good attendance levels? 

Parents play a very important role in ensuring the good attendance records of their children. Below is a list of suggested strategies: 

  • Encourage and stress the importance of full attendance. 

  • Do not allow your child to have time off for minor complaints or illnesses: if they are well enough to be up and about they are generally well enough to attend school. 

  • Monitor your child's attendance report carefully. 

  • Try to book any medical or dental appointments in out of school hours or make them for the very end of the day. 

  • Ensure your child is punctual for school. 

  • Inform the school of any absence. 

  • Take any vacations in school holidays, not during term time. 

  • If your child seems unwilling to attend, contact the school as soon as possible: do not let your child stay at home as this could set a precedent for the future. 


6. What is the school's position on granting leave for family holidays? 

In line with national changes in 2013 which removed the authority from a Headteacher to authorise leave during term time for the purpose of a holiday, we will not authorise any term time leave of absences for holidays. If the request is to be considered as an exceptional circumstance, this request must be made in writing with documentation evidence at least six weeks prior to the request. Parents may be asked to attend a panel meeting to discuss the circumstances. All requests will be considered on an individual basis without bias on receipt of a leave of absence request form. 

The Government has not defined the 'exceptional circumstances’. It is for each Headteacher to decide what they view as an exceptional circumstance. The DfE's advice says schools should consider each request individually considering the specific facts and circumstances and relevant background context behind the request. The Department for Education guidance says the fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, unavoidable and short. 


7. What is an unauthorised absence? 

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given.  This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority using sanctions and/or implementing legal proceedings.   

The type of absences which may not be authorised include: 

  • Parents allowing their child to be absent from school unnecessarily e.g. minor illness, tiredness. 

  • Truancy before or during the school day. 

  • Unexplained absences – no reason provided. 

  • Shopping, looking after other siblings or birthdays. 

  • Leave of absence during term time for day trips or holidays. 

  • Students who arrive at school after the register has closed. 

  • Absences which coincide with important curriculum events (e.g. Sports Days) for which a satisfactory explanation has not been provided. 

Parents should be aware that the decision whether to authorise an absence or not rests with the school.  Hence, if there is any ambiguity relating to an absence, school may request further evidence from parents before an absence may be authorised.  This may be in the form of a prescription, an appointment card or similar. 


8. Does it matter if my child has recorded unauthorised absences? 

As a parent, you’re legally responsible for making sure your child attends school regularly unless you are home-educating your child. Recorded unauthorised absences show that parents are in breach of this law. Recent changes to the law have given Local Authorities the power to serve parents with a Fixed Penalty Notice if a child has ten or more unauthorised absent sessions (i.e. 5 days) in one term.  


9. What is a Fixed Penalty Notice? 

We believe that any absence from school, for whatever reason, is detrimental to a child’s long-term life opportunities and should be avoided.  Reducing absence from school is a key priority, both nationally and locally.  Missing school limits a child’s access to learning and, long term, will adversely affect their attainment levels.   

Under existing legislation, parents/carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend school regularly and the absences are classed as unauthorised (those for which the school cannot or has not given permission). Depending on circumstances, such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. 

A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution, which does not require an appearance in Court, whilst still seeking to secure an improvement in a pupil’s attendance. 

What are the costs? 

Payment within 21 days of receipt of a Penalty Notice is £60 and £120 if paid after this but within 28 days. 

How are they issued? 

Issued by the Local Authority, by post to your home address. 

When are they used? 

Fixed Penalty Notices may be used in a range of situations where unauthorised absence occurs: 

  • Overt truancy (including students found during truancy sweeps) 

  • Inappropriate parentally-condoned absence 

  • Excessive holidays in term time or excessive delayed return from an extended holiday without prior school permission 

  • Persistent late arrival at school (after the Register has closed) 

  • In every case a student will have had a minimum of 10 school sessions (i.e. 5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence during the current term before a Penalty Notice can be issued. 

  • We as an Academy and the Local Authority never take such action lightly and would rather work with parents to improve attendance without having to resort to any enforcement actions. Education is of such importance, however, that the Local Authority will use the powers if this is the only way of securing a child's attendance at school 

Is there an appeal process? 

There is no statutory right of appeal once a Penalty Notice has been issued. 

How do I pay? 

Details of payment arrangements will be included on the Penalty Notice. You need to be aware that payment in part or by instalment is not an option with Penalty Notices. 

What happens if I do not pay? 

You have up to 28 days from receipt to pay the Penalty Notice in full, after which the Local Authority is required under the Act to commence proceedings in the Magistrates Court, for the original offence of failure to ensure your child's regular attendance at school. 

If proven, parents/carers can be fined up to £2,500 each depending upon circumstances. 

The Court is also able to impose other sanctions such as Parenting Orders or Community / Custodial Sentences etc. 


10. Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Penalty Notice but my child is still missing school? 

Not for the period included in the Penalty Notice - payment discharges your liability in this respect. However, it may be the case that a prosecution might be considered for further periods of poor attendance not covered by the Penalty Notice, depending upon the circumstances. If this is an issue, it is vital that you work closely with your child's school and support agencies such as the Borough Schools' Attendance Service. 


11. Can I get help if my child is not attending regularly? 

Yes, the school and external support services can give you advice and support if you need help to improve your child's school attendance, although you should be aware that this is ultimately the legal responsibility of the parent/carer. 

It is very important that you speak to us at the earliest opportunity if you have any worries at all about ensuring the regular and punctual attendance of your child at school.