• Stratford Road, Lighthorne Heath, Leamington Spa,Warwickshire, CV33 9TW

Our Attendance Policy


Lighthorne Heath Primary School seeks to ensure that all pupils receive a full-time education which maximises opportunities for each pupil to achieve their best educational outcomes.

The school will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment whereby each member of the school community feels welcome and safe.

All school staff will work with pupils and their families to ensure each pupil attends school regularly and punctually.

The school will establish an effective system of incentives and rewards which acknowledges the efforts of pupils and their families to improve their attendance and time-keeping, and will challenge the behaviour of those families who give low priority to attendance and punctuality.

To meet these objectives the school will establish an effective and efficient system of communication with pupils, parents and carers, and appropriate agencies to provide information, advice and support.

General principles

Good attendance means that children usually make good, consistent progress in their school work. We rely on our partnership with parents to ensure that this is achieved.

Parents must contact the school if their child is absent by phoning the school office on the first day of absence. If we are uncertain about the whereabouts of a child we MUST, by law, contact the police.

The school must be informed of any planned absence in advance.  Any request for essential absence should be made to the school in writing. If a child needs to be taken out of school during the day for an appointment, parents must complete a form available from the school office. Follow the link below for useful information on leave of absence during term time.

Leave of Absence In Term Time

Our children are praised for good attendance. A class achieving 100% attendance for a week is recognised in our Celebration Assembly.  Children achieving 100% for each term are awarded a certificate and 100% Attendance badge. Attendance is also noted on reports which are passed on to secondary schools.


There are only three reasons why a child may be absent from school. These are:


Religious observance;

Where LA transport should be provided but is unavailable.


As the parent / carer(s) of a child in school, you have a legal responsibility to ensure your child attends school regularly, and on time, and to provide a reason to the school for any absences. These absences will be authorised by the school following contact with parents or carers. Parents / carers must telephone the school on the first day of absence and then provide a note when the child returns to school. If the school does not have prior notification of absence we will contact parents by phone and/or text to confirm the child’s whereabouts. If we are unable to contact parents we may contact the Police.

The school may authorise other absences if we consider them to be unavoidable. If possible, parents should always consult with the school in advance if their child is going to be unavoidably absent.

Only schools can authorise absence. Parents do not have this legal authority.

Absences not accepted by the school will be ‘unauthorised’. If sufficient unauthorised absence accumulates the school will take steps, such as inviting parents to a meeting to improve attendance.

Truancy is a form of unauthorised absence where a child deliberately misses school. Parents, however, remain legally responsible for this absence. Assistance is available in this situation and may be sought via the school or by directly contacting the Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement (ACE) Service.

If there is no improvement in attendance a referral will be made to the ACE Service and this may result in legal action.


Being late into school can be distressing for the child and disrupts the normal morning registration process for the whole class. It may also cause distress and feelings of anxiety for your child.

Our school day starts at 8.55am. Registers are taken by the teacher directly onto SIMS at 9.00. Pupils who are not present for registration will be marked as Late (before registration closes). If they arrive post 9.30 this will be changed to Late (after registration closes) which is an Unauthorised Absence and an explanation will be required.

Children arriving at school after 8.55 am must be brought into school by the main school office entrance and signed in the late book by their parent / carer.

 We contact parents to raise a concern when 3 incidents of lateness of either type occurs. A letter will be sent to parents and a follow up meeting held is necessary to discuss ways to improve timekeeping.

Monitoring Attendance

Registers are taken by teachers directly onto SIMS at the beginning of morning and afternoon school. Office staff record absences using absence codes as defined in SIMS to correctly record the type of absence.

We aim to encourage 100% attendance in school and have a target of at least 95%. We contact parents to raise a concern when cumulative attendance for the school year falls below 90%. A letter will be sent to parents and a follow up meeting held is necessary to discuss ways to improve attendance.

If necessary the Executive Head Teacher will refer an individual issue with the Local Authority Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement (ACE) service.

Legal Action to Enforce School Attendance

Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason:

Parenting Order

Education Supervision Order

School Attendance Order

Penalty notice

You can be given one or more of these orders but the council doesn’t have to do this before prosecuting you.

Parenting Order

This means you have to go to parenting classes. You’ll also have to do what the court says to improve your child’s school attendance.

Education Supervision Order

If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, they can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of prosecuting you, or as well.

School Attendance Order

You’ll get a School Attendance Order if the local council thinks your child isn’t getting an education. You have 15 days to provide evidence that you’ve registered your child with a school or that you’re giving them home education.

The order will require you to send your child to a specific school. If you don’t, you may be prosecuted.

Penalty notice

Instead of being prosecuted, you can be given a penalty notice. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If you don’t pay the fine you may be prosecuted.


You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.


Attendance FAQs

What if my child is ill?

If your child is too unwell to come to school, you should contact the school office as early as possible on the first day of absence and then supply a signed note on their return confirming the illness.

The school or school nurse can supply you with a list of the illnesses that require time off from school and the approximate length of time your child is likely to need off. Once your child has recovered, it is important that he/she returns to school as soon as possible to ensure he/she does not miss too much teaching – even if this means returning to school on the last day of a week or term.

If your child has a chronic, persistent or recurrent health issue, the head teacher can arrange for an interview with the school nurse to discuss the impact of this on his/her education and what additional support can be offered to help keep up. If your child’s attendance falls to a level that is likely to adversely affect his/her long term educational success, the head teacher will arrange to discuss this with you personally and may ask you to supply medical evidence for any future absences.

I want to take my child out of school in term time for a family holiday. Is that OK?

Head teachers can only authorise leave of absences in exceptional circumstances. Leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday as a norm;

Where parents are separated, only the parent with residence may make an application for holiday leave, and must do so on behalf of the other parent if that parent wishes to take the child out of school;

If the head teacher grants a leave request, it will be for the head teacher to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school;

If you have to apply for holiday leave, you should do so BEFORE booking transport and accommodation to avoid disappointment;

The regulations do not allow schools to give retrospective approval.  If the parents did not apply for leave of absence in advance, the absence must be recorded as unauthorised;

Schools have strict criteria which they must follow when deciding when to authorise a leave of absence (the government guidelines can be found on the back of the application form). If your application does not meet these criteria, the head teacher will let you know that your holiday cannot be authorised;

Leave of absences which are unauthorised should not be taken. If they do so, parents are committing an offence and, in certain cases, may be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecution.

I’m going abroad on a work assignment and need to take my child. Is that ok?

On rare occasions, parents may have to take their children out of school for extended periods, e.g. if working abroad, returning to their country of birth etc. If it appears likely that you may have to do this, please make an urgent appointment to discuss the implications for your child’s education with the headteacher who will talk through options for ensuring minimum disruption to his/her learning.

If you do not make the appropriate arrangements with the school, and/or do not return on the agreed date, the school may either report your child as ‘Missing from Education’ to the Local Authority and/or remove he/she from the school roll.

My family religion means my child needs to miss some days at school. What should I do?

Parents may take leave of absence for days of religious observance related to the family religion.

We ask that, if you are likely to need to do this, you inform the school of this when your child starts there and give as much notice as possible of the exact dates required.

Schools will take advice from local religious leaders as to the appropriate number of days to allow as authorised absence for each festival.

My child has a medical / dental appointment in school time. Should I re-book it in non school time?

Schools prefer that parents make all but emergency appointments for medical and dental check ups outside of the school day.

If this is not possible, please give as much notice as possible of the intended appointment.

If you need to collect your child from school for an appointment, you will be asked to sign him/her out of the building and back in again when you return. This is a legal requirement for Health and Safety purposes.

If your child must attend a series of appointments, please ensure, where possible, that times and days are varied so that the same lesson is not always missed.

Sometimes my child arrives at school late. Is that ok?

Punctuality is a legal requirement for school student.

Being on time for school is very important. Many schools concentrate on the key skills such as literacy and numeracy at the beginning of the school day. Children who arrive late can miss important learning.

Late arriving children also miss important information about what is happening during the day. This can leave a child confused and distressed when he/she does not know what is going on.

Schools will monitor lateness carefully because it is often a precursor to later disaffection and absenteeism.

If your child arrives late at school, he/she will have to be signed in and a parental explanation recorded. Persistent, severe or unexplained lateness can be classed as unauthorised absence and may be referred to the Local Authority.

What is unauthorised absence?

Any absence that is either not explained by a parent or is not agreed by the school will be counted as unauthorised. Unauthorised absence is also known as truancy.

Schools are required by law to report their unauthorised absences to both the Local Authority and the relevant government department (DfE).

Persistent or severe levels of unauthorised absence will be referred to the Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement (ACE) Service for intervention. ACE staff will make contact with families to find out why absence is high and will offer support to help with any issues that are preventing full attendance.

However, if absence and/or lateness persists, the ACE has the responsibility to enforce attendance through legal interventions (Fixed Penalty Notices and/or prosecution) which may result in a fine, a Parenting Order or, in extreme cases, imprisonment.

My child doesn’t want to attend school. What should I do?

Most children will, at some point, tell you they do not want to go to school. This is quite normal. Always do your best to find out what has upset them and talk to your child about how to resolve any problems.

If your child says s/he is not happy going to school, or shows other signs of disaffection, i.e. recurrent minor ailments that quickly get better once the school day has started, reluctance to do homework or share information from school, difficulties with friendships in school etc, speak to your child’s teacher or head teacher as soon as possible.

Try and be calm and organised at the beginning of the day so that there is no opportunity for your child to get over anxious.

Praise every achievement at school, however small.

Make sure you understand and support the school’s behaviour policy, giving your child clear guidance about what is expected of them and why. If the problem persists, ask for professional advice, through the school. Central government has recently given money to schools to enable them to ‘buy in’ specialists who can help children to attend school regularly. Please enquire whether your child’s school has subscribed to the The Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement (ACE) Service who provide this specialist support.

Some Important Facts

There are 190 school days each year and 175 other days for shopping trips, birthday treats, non urgent appointments and holidays.

One day a week absence is the equivalent over a school career of 2.5 whole years of education missed.

10 days holiday leave a year is the equivalent of two whole terms of education missed.

15 minutes of lateness a day equals one whole year of education missed.

Full attendance leads to the best educational outcomes – please give your child the best chance and make sure they are in school every day.

References and useful links:

The Education Act 1986

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) 2006