At William Howard School we have high expectations of school attendance. Within school, students are learning important social skills as well as ensuring they are able to progress as much as possible in the academic aspect of their education.

We strive for all students to achieve a minimum of 97% attendance throughout the academic year. We understand that on occasion illness cannot be helped, however, we want every student, and parent/carer, to work with us in helping to achieve this target.

Every term we reward excellent attendance as well as students who have managed to improve their attendance from one term to the next. Where attendance drops below 95%, the pastoral teams will work closely with families in a supportive way, through communication, meetings and attendance action plans, to ensure that attendance is improved and that any barriers to coming into school are removed.


Absence Procedure

Every day that your child is absent from school you should call the school’s automated Absence Line on 016977 45396, before 8.40am.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

– Student’s name
– Form group
– Reason for absence
– Your name
– Your relationship to the student
– Your contact number

  • The dates of your child’s absence and the reason for the absence should be clearly noted in your child’s Student Planner on their return to school.
  • Any concerns regarding your child’s absence should be discussed directly with their Year Group Manager.

Safeguarding our students is of paramount importance, and as such, if a reason for absence is not provided the school will follow clear procedures to ascertain the whereabouts of the child. Initially, we will make a phone call after the closing of registers. If no response is received, a second message will be sent late morning. If we still do not receive a response then we will contact you via phone, and then conduct home visits. If we still receive no contact then we have a duty to notify the police who will conduct a welfare check. In cases where students are absent and their attendance is below 90% we may still conduct home visits, where possible, on the first day of absence, even if a reason is provided. Any child absent for 5 days (even if a reason for absence is provided) will also receive a home visit.


Persistent Absence

The Government describe persistent absence as under 90%. It is essential that all parties (students, parents/carers, and school staff) work closely to raise the attendance of any child which drops below 90%. William Howard School will do this through arranging supportive meetings, conducting regular home visits and through regular contact with parents. Where no improvement is made, an Attendance Action Plan will be implemented. This is designed to be a supportive process which address barriers to school attendance. However, should the plan fail then there is a risk of the case being referred to the local authority for prosecution. If parents/carers are invited to attend an Attendance Action Plan meeting, it is essential that the meeting is attended.


Medical Appointments

To ensure students’ attendance meets our expectations, all medical appointments should be made, where possible, outside of school hours. In situations where this is not possible, we expect students to attend school before and after the appointment, ensuring that they only miss a small amount of lesson time. For example, if a student has a dentist appoint at 10.30am, we would expect the student to arrive at school for 8.45am, be collected before their appointment, and then to return in time for late morning/afternoon lessons. If medical appointments are arranged during AM or PM registration, these will only be authorised if we are provided with evidence of an appointment.


Holidays During Term-Time

The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time. The Department for Education allows a headteacher the discretion to consider authorising a leave of absence in term time only in “exceptional circumstances”.

You may consider that a holiday will be educational but your child will still miss out on the teaching that their peers will receive whilst your child is away. Children returning from a leave of absence during term time are also unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed. Teachers then have to give more time to help individual children catch up on missed work. This poses a potential risk of the under achievement for your child and other students in the class, which is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.

Parents/Carers need to request a leave of absence by completing the form on page 2 of the letter within the link below. If the holiday is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school for the leave of absence this will be recorded as unauthorised leave.

All unauthorised absences, including holidays that have not been sanctioned by the headteacher, are accumulated and parents/carers who fail to ensure regular attendance of their children at school can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. The amount is £60 (per parent/carer per child) if paid within 21 days; and £120 (per parent per child) if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution, except in limited circumstances. All leave of absence requests must be completed by email or letter to the Headteacher. This should be sent to the school at least 7 days before the start of the holiday. All requests must be made prior to the leave being taken. Leave cannot be authorised retrospectively.

In considering the decision whether to authorise, the following will be taken into account:

  • Reasons given for the holiday
  • Any holiday leave taken in previous academic years (authorised or unauthorised)
  • Your child’s previous attendance record; this includes attendance in the current academic year, which should be over 95%, as well as attendance in previous academic years
  • Whether your child will miss any tests/examinations (or important preparation for their tests)
  • Whether your child is making good progress.