Attendance and Leave of Absence

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Improved attendance – improved chances

At Hummersknott Academy excellent attendance and punctuality is our aim for every student. Full attendance maximises learning opportunities and parents/carers have a vital role in promoting positive attitudes towards attendance. We ask for support from parents/carers to ensure that their children are present at every opportunity, arrive on time and to avoid allowing children to stay at home unnecessarily or taking them out of school without authorisation. Evidence shows that students who attend school regularly make better progress both academically and socially.

We monitor all students’ attendance closely and follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers by text, email and/or telephone calls. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents/carers to discuss ways in which we can support them and their child.

Our minimum attendance target is 96%, and an expectation we have for all students. Every lesson counts and it is this commitment to learning that will have a positive effect on students’ examinations and their futures.


Regular attendance at school is essential to ensure uninterrupted progress and to enable children to extend their potential. Ensuring that your child attends school every day is one of the most important things you can do to help them succeed at secondary school. There are clearly documented links between regular attendance and attainment.

We understand that, on occasion, students may have to miss school due to ill health. We ask that parents adopt a robust approach to illness and only keep students off school when it is absolutely necessary.

A common sense approach should be used when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Parents should ask themselves:

• Is your child well enough to carry out the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home
• Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home
• Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home

While we have a dedicated team of first aiders at the school, there are no qualified medical personnel, and facilities for looking after sick children are very limited.

Children who become unwell at school

If a child complains of feeling unwell, depending on their symptoms, staff will initially monitor their condition and keep them comfortable. If a child continues to feel unwell, a first aider will attend the classroom and support the child to remain in class. If it is considered that a child is not well enough to remain in school, parents/carers will be contacted by the Academy, children must not contact home themselves. Contact is made in the order parents/carers/guardians appear on the Academy’s emergency contact list, therefore, it is important to keep the school informed of any changes to home/mobile numbers or any change of home arrangements.

Persistent Absence

Persistent absence is a serious problem for students. Much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these students at a considerable disadvantage.

A student defined as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ is one who misses 10% or more of school. The following table shows estimated cumulative absent session thresholds for around 10% absence (i.e. the time that students would be off for each half-term if all half-terms were of equal length):

Half Terms 10% Absence (persistent absence)
Sept-Oct 7 or more sessions
Sept-Dec 14 or more sessions
Sept-Feb 20 or more sessions
Sept-March 25 or more sessions
Sept-May 32 or more sessions
Sept-July 38 or more sessions
Each ‘session’ is equivalent to a half-day of school


For every day of school a student misses, it will reduce their attendance by 0.5%. Students are classed as persistently absent from school if their attendance is 90% or less, which equates to 20 days of learning missed, equivalent to 100 hours of learning.

Attendance Effect on results (per GCSE of equivalent)
96-100% +1.4
92-95.9% -0.7
90-91.9% -1.5
85-89.9% -1.9
80-84.9% -2.7
<80% -3.3


Once attendance drops below 96% it has an impact on students’ GCSE grade. This applies from Year 7 to Year 11.

Schools are challenged by the Government to address the problem of persistent absenteeism. The government has strengthened schools’ ability to respond by increasing Fixed Penalty Notices (fines) to £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days. Equally, any student absent for 5 days in a row, without any reason provided can now be fined without warning of £60.


Reporting Absence

If your child is too ill to attend the Academy, parents/carers should contact their College Manager or Academy Attendance Team, as soon as possible:

  • by telephone on 01325 241191, Option 1. The telephone system allows callers to leave a message 24 hours a day.
  • by email directly to the Attendance Team on the following [email protected]


Please give your child’s name, year group, the reason for the absence and how long you expect the absence to last. We ask that you contact us each day that your child is absent unless you have given us an indication of how long the absence will last.

On your child’s return following an absence, we request that parents/carers make a note in their child’s planner which should be shown to their Form Mentor to allow us to ensure our registers are accurate.


What to do if your child has an appointment:

We ask that you make routine medical and other appointments out of school time, where possible. If this is not possible, we require notification in advance. Please telephone, email or provide a note from home alongside any appointment letter (if already received from your doctor) or alternatively a simple dated slip from your GP to confirm the appointment.

In most cases, your child should attend the Academy before the appointment and return to the Academy afterwards wherever possible. They should bring a note from home to Reception when it is time for them to sign out. They should sign back in at Reception on their return.


Automated calls to parents/carers:

We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and calls are made daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent from registration (8.30am – 9.00am) and Period 1 (9.00am to 10.00am), where the Attendance Officer has received no reason for absence. We send texts and emails to alert parents/carers (priority 1 and 2 contacts) when their child is not present in school and no reason has been provided for the absence. We ask that parent/carers then contact the Attendance Officer to confirm their child’s absence.  The system is used to ensure that both the school and parents are aware of their child’s whereabouts.

Calls are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.

NOTE: Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending registration on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers.



All students are expected to arrive on time at the Academy, ready for lessons. Students should arrive for 8.25am.  Students are expected to be at their form rooms by 8.25am ready to start learning. The gates to the Academy will be locked at 8.30am. After that, access to the Academy is by the main entrance doors to Reception.

Any student arriving late must sign in at Reception where an Assistant Principal will be present from 8.30am-9.00am. After 8.30am, students will be marked as late. Reasons such as missing the bus, stuck in traffic, oversleeping or poor weather are not considered to be acceptable reasons for lateness.

We would be grateful for your support in ensuring that your child arrives on time.


Leave of Absence (including term-time holidays)

Amendments came into force in September 2013 to the Education Regulations 2006 and now state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days’ holiday per year. This is not true. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education.

Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away etc.

Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. Parents/carers should make any request well in advance and in writing (a form is available from the Academy). Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc., should be made in the same way.

All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:

  • the time of year the student will be absent
  • the attendance record of the student
  • the number of previous requests for leave of absence
  • the student’s ability to catch up

Parents will be notified of the Academy’s decision either by telephone or in writing.

Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court.