Attendance & Punctuality

COVID-19 & Attendance (September 2021)

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, they must follow government stay at home guidance and not attend school.

Covid19 Symptoms are:

  • high temperature

  • new, continuous cough

  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If your child has any of these symptoms, contact school straight away to let us know on 0115 9150466. Please make sure you speak to either our attendance support worker or our office staff. 

If a family member has Covid-19 symptoms or even a positive case, your children must still attend school.


Attendance Matters: What zone are you in?


At Southwark, we strongly believe that good attendance and punctuality is vital for EVERY child

Children who attend school every day are more likely to:

  • Make more academic progress
  • Leave school with higher academic levels
  • Develop socially and emotionally, making strong friendships with their peers.

To give our children the best chances and opportunities, they must be in school. We will work tirelessly to get the children into school but we can only do it with your help and commitment.

Good attendance is important because:

  • Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and absence below 96%.
  • Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Regular attenders find school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with
  • Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • Regular attenders are more successful in transferring between primary school, secondary school, and higher education, employment or training.

Responsibilities of Teachers:

  • Ensure that all students are registered accurately & on time.
  • Promote & reward good attendance at all appropriate opportunities.
  • Liaise with the appropriate member of staff on matters of attendance and punctuality.
  • Communicate with pupils and parents/carers regarding absences and poor punctuality.

Responsibilities of Pupils:

  • Attend every day unless the reason for absence is unavoidable.
  • Arrive in your classroom on time, every day.

Responsibilities of Parents and Carers:

  • Ensure your child attends school every day unless the reason for absence is unavoidable.
  • Ensure your child arrives in their classroom on time, every day.
  • In the event of being late, take your child to the main entrance, complete and sign a late slip at the Attendance Office and include a reason for lateness.
  • In the event of any absence, inform the school on the first day of absence and every subsequent day of absence by phone (0115 9150466 option 1) or at the attendance office, unless a doctor has supplied written evidence for a specified length of time.
  • Avoid taking their child out of school for non-urgent medical or dental appointments.
  • Provide written medical evidence to support any absence if requested by the school.
  • Only request for leave of absence if it is for an exceptional circumstance - ensuring our school procedures are followed.

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is a parent/carers’ legal responsibility as per the Education Act 1996 Section 444 and permitting absence from school that is not authorised by the school creates an offence in law.

Illness & Absence

We understand that when feeling under the weather, staying at home can feel like the best form of recovery but as the NHS says, “not every illness needs to keep your child from school.”

Here are the recommendations from the Public Health Agency for common illness that often, but not always necessary, result in absences from school.

Symptom Recommended period to be kept away from school / nursery
Diarrhoea and/ or vomiting 48 hours from last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting
Head lice
Glandular fever
Warts and Verrucae
Chickenpox Five days from the onset of rash
Hand, Foot and Mouth
Impetigo Until lesions are crusted and healed or 48 hours after commencing antibiotic treatment
General cough and/ or cold
Minor Headache
Sore throat

 Punctuality & Lateness

Lateness into school causes disruption to a child's learning. It is of extreme importance therefore that all pupils arrive at school on time. If they arrive on time, they maximise their earning time as well as being able to form strong friendships with their peers.  If your child is often late, this affects their academic and social / emotional development.  It also means that staff have to come away from teaching and learning across the school to collect your child from the front office - this isn't the best use of their time!

  • Classroom doors open at 8.40am. School gates close at 8.55am promptly; children must be in their classroom by 9:00am. If children arrive at school after 8:55am, they must be brought into school via the school office by an adult and sign in. If the register has closed this late will be recorded as unauthorised.
  • The Attendance Support Worker will ask you why you are late
  • Where a child is arriving late, the parents receive a text message/Dojo message to remind them of the importance of good punctuality.
  • If a child arrives at school late on two or more occasions during a week, the parents are sent a letter reminding them of the importance of good punctuality. If this is repeated again during the half term, a second letter is sent. If this continues for a third week during the half term, the parent is sent a third letter inviting them to a meeting with the Head Teacher.
  • If after the meeting has been held, and the lateness continues, this could lead to a referral being made by the school for a Penalty Notice to be issued to both parents for failure to ensure regular attendance.
  • Support will be given to families (i.e. home visits/review meetings/free breakfast club places offered) as far as possible within the resources available to the school but children will not be directly collected from home by staff members other than in extremely exceptional circumstances.
  • Children identified as persistently late will be given a punctuality chart to monitor their punctuality and this will earn them a reward if improvement is seen.
  • We are unable to take responsibility for children on the school premises before 8:40am which is the time when all doors to classrooms open. It is very important that children do not play on the play equipment before or after school as there is no supervision at these times. Thank you for your co-operation with this.

Drop-off window in the mornings

  • External gates will open at 8:35am
  • Classroom doors should open at 8:40am
  • At 8:55am all 3 gates (front, side at Rosegarth and bottom on Bulwell lane) will be closed to incoming parents/children. Staff on the gates will radio each other to ensure consistency of timings - we hope this reduces your frustration of inconsistency. Once on the school site, please make your way to your child's class quickly to drop them in class.
  • Although all 3 gates will close at 8:55am, parents will be allowed to walk off the school site using any entrance/exit until 9:05am when the external gates will be locked. This gives you at least 10 minutes to get your child to class and leave the school site.
  • If children/parents arrive at any of the 3 gates at 8:56am or after, you are deemed to be late. You will need to sign your child in at the school office at the front of school. If you are entering school via the side or bottom gates, please note that you WILL NOT be allowed to walk through the school site. Instead, you will have to make your way around the outside of school and sign your child into school at the office.

Collection arrangements at the end of the day

  • Nursery doors will open for parents to collect children from 3:00pm until 3:10pm.
  • Reception & Year 1 will open doors at 3:10pm
  • Years 23456 classroom doors will open at 3:15pm
  • The school gates will be locked at 3:30pm so please make sure leave the school site by then otherwise you will be locked in. This is to improve the security of the school site.

 Leave of Absence in Term Time

  • Head Teachers shall not grant any Leave of Absence during term time unless they consider there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.
  • Exceptional circumstances being defined as being unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time.
  • Parents do not have any entitlement to take their children on holiday during term time. Any application for leave must establish that there are exceptional circumstances and the Head Teacher must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave.
  • Head Teachers will determine how many school days a child may be absent from school if the leave is granted.
  • Applications for Leave of Absence must be made in advance and failure to do so will result in the absence being unauthorised.
  • The school can only consider applications for Leave of Absence which are made by the resident parent.
  • Applications for Leave of Absence which are made in advance and refused will result in the absence being unauthorised which may result in legal action against the parent, by Fixed Penalty Notice, if the child is absent from school during that period
  • If a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued and is not paid within the timeframe set out in that Notice, the matter may be referred to Legal Services to consider instigating criminal prosecution proceedings under S444 of Education Act 1996.

Each application for a Leave of Absence will be considered on a case by case basis and on its own merits. Southwark Primary School understands that holidays are generally less expensive during term time but this does NOT count as an exceptional circumstance. Leave of absence will only be authorised if school feel there are exceptional circumstances.

Parent/carers must follow school procedures when requesting leave of absence for their child:

  • A 'Leave of Absence Request Form' should be completed and returned to the school office at least 4 school weeks in advance of the proposed absence.  These are available from the Attendance Support Worker. 
  • Alongside this form, a letter should be addressed to the Attendance Lead (Mrs Wattam) explaining why the leave is essential and the reasons why it needs to take place during term time.
  • Written travel documentation and accommodation details must be supplied before a request can be considered.
  • Once the decision has been made by the school it cannot be reversed and there is no appeals procedure. The Head Teacher’s decision is final.
  • If the Head Teacher deems that the reasons for the request are exceptional and authorises the absence, a reply confirming that the request has been authorised will be sent to the parent/carer.
  • If the Head Teacher deems that the reasons are not exceptional and the leave of absence will not be authorised, a reply informing the parents of this decision for each child and warning of the legal implications of the absence been taken will be sent to each parent/carer.
  • If the decision is to not authorise the leave of absence and the child is absent from school, in all cases the school will request that the Local Authority issues a Penalty Notice to both parents; there is no appeal process.


For all other information about attendance please read our attendance policy which is attached below.






Southwark Primary School Attendance & Punctuality Policy 2021 - 2022