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Chaucer Junior School

"Dream, Believe, Achieve"

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Why is attendance important?

A child's attendance can have a huge impact on their progress, both in terms of personal development and academic progress. If a child misses just two weeks of school across the year, they are missing 65 hours of learning and it can be very difficult to catch up.


How attendance works

The school day is split into two sessions, with two registration marks per day - one for the morning and one for the afternoon. Attendance is recorded per session; this means that if your child is unwell in the morning but feels better in the afternoon it is beneficial to bring them into school. Their attendance will be boosted and, more importantly, so will their education.  


Key timings

8:40 The gates open

8:50 The gates close and the school day begins

9:00 A child arriving after this time would be marked as late (L)

9:15 The register closes and any children arriving after this time would be classed as having an unauthorised absence (U)


3:20 The gates open at the end of the school day


If a child arrives late 10 or more times during a year, it can result in a penalty notice being issued. 



If a child is ill or has a valid medical reason for not being able to attend school, school must be contacted before 9am on each day of the absence so we can keep a record and assess whether we can authorise the absence.


There are two ways you can do this:


If we have not had any contact to explain the absence, we will send a safe and well text and then call the family. If we are unable to speak to anyone, we may do a safe and well home visit. If we are still unable to make contact, we will consider informing other agencies such as the police, social care or a health visitor. Absences that we are not informed of will be recorded as unauthorised.


More than 3 consecutive days’ illness without medical evidence will not be authorised. 


Leave of absence requests during term

Leave of absence requests are very rarely authorised and the following information must be considered:

  • An absence request must be completed and received by school at least 10 school days before the first requested day of absence. 
  • If there are extremely exceptional circumstances, evidence should be provided to help the authorising process. 
  • Penalty notices are issued for unauthorised absence, poor attendance or reoccurring lateness.  
  • Penalty notices will be issued even if attendance has previously been good. 
  • For holidays or poor attendance the fine could be £120 per child, per parent or carer.
  • Leave of absence requests for family holidays will not be authorised.
  • Requests for holidays for family weddings or to see relatives are not deemed to be exceptional circumstances.
  • Penalty notices that are repeated or unpaid may result in legal prosecution.


Should you still decide to take your child out of school for a holiday, we still require you to complete an Application for Leave of Absence Form, which is available as a download at the bottom of this page or from the school office. You can return the form to school or email it to


Attendance and punctuality procedures  

We will use the following procedure to keep families as informed as possible about attendance queries and punctuality concerns. This is also a good opportunity to share any difficulties with our team so that we can explore ways in which we can offer support.

  1. If a child’s attendance drops to between 94-91%, we will contact each parent to make them aware and provide a parental responsibility letter.
  2. If a child’s attendance drops further to 90% and we are concerned, a meeting will be arranged with any adults who hold parental responsibility. During this meeting, a family target agreement will be completed, and a penalty warning notice will be issued to any adults who hold parental responsibility. The penalty warning notice will give a set number within which the child's attendance must improve.
  3. If the child’s attendance does not improve during the monitoring days, a penalty of up to £120 per parent, per child will be issued from the local authority.


School avoidance

We understand that school can be a difficult or overwhelming experience for some children and that morning routines can be challenging. With this in mind, we are keen to offer support to families whose children are reluctant to attend. Please contact us using the details listed under the "Illness" heading so we can explore how we can help.


We have many examples of where collaboration between school and families has had a lasting positive impact on attendance and engagement.


Further information

For further information, please use this link link to access our Policies page, where you will find our most up-to-date Attendance Policy, or view the documents listed below: